Manchester Metropolitan University

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George Osborne launches business forum

Chancellor George Osborne

SMALL and medium-sized enterprises backed by Manchester Metropolitan University are aiming to boost growth with the help of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Firms from across the region attended the Centre for Enterprise’s (CfE) Family Business Forum to debate the pressing challenges they face and how government can better support their long-term survival.

Chancellor George Osborne delivered a pre-recorded opening address for the forum and invited the final report to be sent to him.

The SMEs identified restrictive tax laws and low quality assistance to be the key factors inhibiting family businesses, which employ two of every five people in the private sector and deliver around 25% of UK GDP.

Tax relief

Professor Lynn Martin, Director of CfE, said: “Talking to family business owners you quickly understand that their chief concern is leaving a successful business for the next generation. But many feel that the current tax code stands in the way of that.

“In addition, there is a feeling that family firms aren’t being taken seriously by government. Many felt that the advice offered to family businesses was of variable quality and some reported feeling penalised by financial institutions and other businesses.”

The first request is for the Government to consider granting at least partial exemption from inheritance and capital gains taxes on family businesses. Secondly, government has been asked to establish a new Family Business Agency and Support Centre to offer the high-quality assistance that family firms need.

“George Osborne, himself, is part of a family manufacturing business, so we hope that our proposals will hit home,” added Prof Martin.

‘Crown jewels’

“Family businesses are the crown jewels of the UK economy, but a massive 70% of these companies fail to make it to the second generation of ownership and 90% die out before the third. These recommendations aren’t just for the benefit of family firms but the UK economy as a whole.”

The CfE, which specialises in transferring knowledge from MMU to help SMEs grow, hosted the event in conjunction with the Forum of Private Business.

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