Senior West Midlands business leaders urge mayoral and councillor candidates to back Family Business UK Manifesto


  • Endorsements include regional leaders such as the Rigby Group.

Business from across the West Midlands are urging mayoral and local election candidates to back Family Business UK's first ever manifesto.

Taking The Long-Term View which lists "policies to unleash the potential of UK family business sector", has received support from business leaders including Steve Rigby, Co-CEO of the multinational West Midlands- based Rigby Group.

A number of family businesses based in the Midlands are members of Family Business UK, including Rigby Group, Everards Brewery Samworth Brothers, the Bennie Group, Weatherby's Park and AF Blakemore & Son.

The Manifesto launch comes after a survey of FBUK members showed a majority of family businesses surveyed think the Government is not doing enough to help support businesses with long-term investment planning.

The survey, conducted with the Family Business UK membership - made up of some of the largest family businesses, including household names and global companies - found that a significant majority of members felt that the Government has been too focused on addressing short-term issues and wasn't doing enough to provide stability for family businesses by delivering a long-term strategy.

Overall, a majority of family businesses were looking to increase their investments over the next five years. The survey also found that family firms said not having access to the right skills was one of the major barriers they currently face, and that the apprenticeship levy needed completely overhauling and reforming.

These insights have helped inform the new recommendations of the first-ever Manifesto by Family Business UK. The document sets out a list of key policy recommendations that can provide "enormous potential of the family business sector to support economic growth, family businesses, their workforce, and society at large".

Chief Executive of Family Business UK, Neil Davy, said the Government has a clear opportunity to unlock the potential of the family business sector and that focusing on the following policy areas will help stimulate and sustain economic growth and prosperity and build healthy communities.

People: Policymakers and business must come together to help family firms to get the best out of their people through investing in skills and opportunities for local communities by:

  • Replacing the Apprenticeship Levy with a Future Skills Fund

  • Allowing more flexibility on how businesses use the fund for skills

  • Removing barriers on spending between home nations

  • Encouraging upskilling and career long learning

Growth: Family firms – backed by a clear government agenda - can help to deliver growth, enabling them to invest for the long term to create sustainable businesses and jobs by:

  • Developing a Long-term Industrial Strategy, and to publish a Business Tax Roadmap

  • Making the new Full Expensing rules for capital investment permanent.

  • Reviewing the disparity in the tax treatment of debt and equity financing

  • Developing a stand-alone growth and support strategy for mid-sized businesses,

  • Raising the eligibility threshold for EIS to 499 employees (the same level as for knowledge-intensive companies) and increase the investment limit.

Ownership and succession: Promoting family ownership and ensuring a smooth transition from one generation to the next also building new companies for the future by:

  • Committing to maintain Business Property Relief (BPR) in full

  • Updating the rules for BPR to support businesses with joint ventures

  • Bringing Business Assets Holdover Relief (BAHR) eligibility into alignment with BPR to enable a smooth transition in ownership between generations

Family Business UK believes that for too long, political, industry and business decision-making has taken a restricted approach to investment decisions that responds to the priorities of non-family business PLCs, whose priority is to meet shareholder demands for short-term returns on investments.

The UK needs to formulate a growth strategy that encourages and incentivises businesses to focus on longer-term investment opportunities and returns for stakeholders, the environment, and the UK's role and place in the wider world.

Chief Executive of Family Business UK, Neil Davy, said:

"In the UK, we are sitting on an enormous resource of entrepreneurialism in the form of our family business sector. Family businesses make up 90 per cent of the UK's total private sector firms, employing 14 million people and contributing over £200 billion through tax receipts each year alone.

"This manifesto represents our offer to policymakers, informed by the UK's family business community and their everyday experience of doing business in helping to solve the big challenges of today and tomorrow.

"If implemented, they will unleash the enormous potential of the family business sector to support economic growth through responsible business practices that benefit the family business, their workforce, and society at large."

Sir James Wates CBE, Chair of Family Business UK:

"Family businesses are the backbone of the UK's entrepreneurial landscape, weaving together tradition and innovation. Their unwavering commitment to quality, sustainability, and community sets them apart. I wholeheartedly endorse the manifesto for family businesses in the UK, recognizing their vital role in driving economic growth and nurturing the local fabric of our society."

Steve Rigby, Co-Chief Executive for the Rigby Group:

"FBUK plays a vital role representing the interests of family businesses which are the unsung powerhouse of our economy, and significant employers in every region.  As a board member of FBUK and owner of a top 10 wholly owned UK family business, I am delighted to whole heartedly support the manifesto in its support for UK private enterprise and the changes we believe are needed to boost our sector and the economy."

A full list of endorsements can be found here:

About Family Business UK

Originally founded in 2001 as the Institute for Family Business (IFB), Family Business UK (FBUK) is the largest organisation in the UK solely dedicated to supporting, representing and championing family business.

FBUK is a movement of 200 of the largest family businesses, including a number of household names and global companies, working to showcase the role family businesses play in creating a more prosperous and sustainable future and highlighting the impact that they can have on their employees, communities, and the economy for generations to come.

FBUK is a not-for-profit organisation advocating for the model of family business and celebrating the positive impact the sector has in the UK. Its work aims to demonstrate that family businesses offer a model of sustainable and responsible business that others can learn from, be part of, work with, or even adopt.