MON 25TH MAY 2020


Bringing the family business community together

The Engine Room Of The British Economy

21st May 2018 Craig Manson. Partner, Mazars

We take a look at defining the sector, the scale and number of family firms involved and why family businesses are the engine room of the UK economy.

Family businesses come in all shapes and sizes, across the UK. Many of these have been around for hundreds of years, passing from one generation to the next, their success the result of good governance, innovative leadership and adaptability, focusing on longevity and sustainability in an ever-evolving world.  

Taking direction from established family businesses, those at an earlier stage of their journey will share similar values, building towards a successful and sustainable for the future.

We recognise the importance of family businesses in the UK and in this introductory article, we look in more detail at this sector, the scale and number of firms involved, trying to underpin the key traits that make family businesses the engine room of the UK economy.

Latest research reveals that family businesses now account for 88% of all private enterprises in the UK, generating more than 12 million jobs and £1.4 trillion annually. 

Popular family businesses include the likes of Warburtons, Walkers Shortbread, The Morgan Motor Company, Arnold Clark, Johnstons of Elgin, JW Lees Brewery and Bettys & Taylors. 

Some of the key issues a family business might face could be the same as issues facing a large privately owned, however, some are unique to their sector. 

Over their lifetime family businesses will have to deal with distinct issues associated with family ownership. It is the relationship dynamics that make them special, but, of course, can create unique tensions that are not found in their non-family counterparts. Those that recognise these challenges, develop good governance procedures and focus on the sustainability of the business for the long term, innovating as necessary to keep the business relevant, have the greatest chances of remaining for generations to come.  

Craig Manson, Mazars Family Business experts adds “The family business is seen as the cornerstone of many communities across the UK with a strong history spanning generations. Family businesses deserve more recognition for their contribution to the UK market and I believe we will see them continue to grow and develop moulding future family members for succession. It is a privilege to work with these businesses, understanding their journey and the legacies they continue to create.”

Successful family business owners are always looking to the future, putting a great deal of thought into planning for their future and life once the business is handed down. With a significant number of family business owners looking to retire in the next decade, succession planning and the development of the next generation of leaders remains key items on the family business agenda.

About the Author - Craig Manson is a partner at Mazars in Leeds working with family and privately owned businesses.  Find out more about by visiting the Mazars website here.   If you have any questions about the family business sector or your family business in particular, please do get in touch via 



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