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New Report Highlights Family Business As Crucial To Pandemic Recovery

The rebound of family businesses post-pandemic will be critical to the rebuilding of the UK economy, a new report has shown.

The latest report by the IFB Research Foundation (IFBRF) reveals that in 2019, family businesses contributed to almost 30 per cent of the UK’s national income. Over 100,000 new family businesses were created in the year running up to the pandemic, with 5.2 million family firms in total who employ over 14 million people in the UK.

Sir Michael Bibby, Chairman of the IFB Research Foundation, said: “This latest report shows how, before the COVID-19 pandemic, family businesses were playing a critical role in the UK economy. The evidence highlights how the sector had been performing well and was largely optimistic about the future. The pandemic is likely to have had a dramatic impact on the outlook, and expectations of many UK small and medium-sized enterprises and this report will give us a great base from which to analyse the changes especially given some of the sectors in which family firms are most concentrated have been those hardest hit by COVID 19. It is interesting to note that the analysis also shows that family ownership does not affect the uptake of technology and so productivity, which is more correlated with the size of the company than the ownership.“

IFB Director General Elizabeth Bagger said: “This report clearly shows how significant family businesses are to the strength, stability, and success of UK private enterprise. Before the pandemic, family businesses were growing exponentially.”

“Family firms are the driving force across all regions, communities, and sectors of the UK and as such, are pivotal to the future prosperity of the country as we emerge from the pandemic. We must therefore ensure that family businesses are supported to recover and grow.”

“Supporting the adoption of new technologies can help family firms improve their processes and foster innovation, with the move towards these new technologies a trend which has been accelerated by the pandemic. UK Government-backed initiatives such as Evolve Digital support small family businesses to adopt digital technology, and more doors must open to allow family businesses to continue to rebuild.”

As Paul Andrews, Founder and Managing Director of Family Business United adds, “The response of the family business sector to the pandemic has been phenomenal, supporting each other where they can, adopting new innovative ways of working and showing their resilience and determination to succeed.  As restrictions continue to be lifted family businesses will remain an essential component in the recovery of the nation.  Research like this is crucial in supporting the sector and demonstrating its importance to the country, not just in terms of jobs provided, income generated and wealth created but with regards to their support of the communities in which they operate.”

2021 Family Business Sector Report

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