Family firms demand less red tape for £1.1trn sector

Britain's family-owned businesses will today call on the Government to cut red tape and increase support for a sector that generates an estimated £1.1 trillion of revenues.

The Institute for Family Business (IFB) argues in a report that the tax system penalises entrepreneurial families and that 20,000 new jobs could be created if employment rules were relaxed for family firms.

The report, co-produced with Oxford Economics, says two-thirds of UK private sector firms are family owned and those businesses employ 9.2 million people, or 40 per cent of private sector jobs. In addition, family businesses paid almost £82bn in taxes last year, or 14 per cent of Government revenues.

The report calls for the Government to give more support with succession planning, one of the big issues family firms face in making sure they continue to trade and grow.

The report comes as the Government is pinning its hopes for recovery on private businesses generating jobs to compensate for the cuts in public sector employment.

The Government has also pledged to rebalance the economy towards enterprise and away from a dependence on financial services.

Grant Gordon, director-general of the IFB, said: "Family businesses offer the economy the benefit of a long-term perspective and a desire to create successful businesses that are passed down through generations. We want the Government to make changes that will promote family business entrepreneurship."

Most family businesses are small and medium enterprises but they also include household names like Warburtons, Thorntons and Primark owner Associated British Foods.