Family Firms Still Thriving in Britain


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Family-owned businesses have always made a major contribution to the economy of the United Kingdom. Such businesses appear to be positively thriving in the 21st century, with that contribution having actually increased by as much as ten percent over the course of the last five years, according to Oxford Economics research carried out for the Institute of Family Business.

According to the report, family firms in the United Kingdom are now generating over a quarter of UK GDP, for a total of an estimated £500 billion in turnover per annum, in addition to employing nearly twelve million people in the country.

Family firms major asset to UK

The new report also says that the Treasury receives as much as £100 billion each year in tax revenue from family firms, showcasing the amazing scale and size of the family business community within the United Kingdom. The report serves as a vital reminder of the importance to the country of such family businesses, not only being a backbone of the nation’s economy, but also making an amazing contribution across all industries, regions and sectors.

The report’s findings also imply that families who run such enterprises have what might be thought of as a surprisingly high degree of confidence in the prospect for future growth. Around fifty percent of all family businesses in the country are keen to try to expand in the next year, and four in ten are even giving their workforce new training in a bid to achieve this goal. Around forty percent of family businesses that want to expand are keen to do so into different markets.

British mainstays

Many family firms, like Hampshire’s JDS Van Sales, have been in business for generations, and are mainstays of British society that show no sign of going away any time soon. RJ Balson & Son is a fine example of this, a family firm now into its twenty-sixth generation, which celebrated its quincentennial in 2015. The firm started when Henry VIII was on the throne, and before North America was even officially discovered!

Another great example of such a mainstay is the Scottish firm known as John White & Sons, which is actually the United Kingdom’s oldest independent weighing equipment firm, and Scotland’s oldest family business. John White & Sons celebrated its tercentenary last year, being founded as far back as 1715. Other examples include the likes of Morning Foods, which started in 1675, W. Austin and Sons Limited, which began back in the year 1700, and Floris, the oldest English toiletries and accessories retailer (and the second oldest on the planet) which began in 1730.

The future looks bright

The good news however is that a family business does not have to be several hundred years old in order to be a success in 21st century Britain. The likes of JDS Commercials, a used van and commercial vehicle retailer, began just twenty-five years ago, but has become one of the most successful such businesses in the country. For family businesses new and old, the future has never looked brighter.