Holding hands

The government must do more, and must act now, to ensure that family businesses are able to thrive, an industry body has said.

The Institute for Family Business (IFB) has said family firms are being held back by a lack of basic infrastructure and inadequate broadband coverage.

Raising productivity in the UK is seen as being crucial to boosting the country’s economic growth, with Chancellor George Osborne announcing his measures to deal with the issue just after last month’s Budget. But Mark Hastings, Director General of the IFB, believes the measures don’t go far enough.

He said: "Our members are telling us that the Government needs to do much more to free them up and allow growth.

“The ideas, creativity and drive for business development are as strong as ever. But the basic infrastructure, roads and rail networks must be there to encourage it.

“Ensuring business has proper access to broadband is absolutely vital. The idea that business in modern Britain could get left behind because they cannot get connected is crazy.

“Equally red tape should never be a barrier for holding anyone back.”

According to IFB research, family business owners cited a lack of effective broadband as being a real problem for growth.

Just over 40% strongly or slightly disagreed that coverage met their business needs. While around 75% said “ensuring superfast broadband is available to 95% of UK households and businesses by 2017” would be a positive step.

Half said the rail investment programme, announced in the productivity plan would have a positive impact, while 58% agreed the new roads fund should also be a priority.

Elsewhere in the research 66% of medium and large family businesses agreed bureaucracy was limiting their ability to grow. And an overwhelming majority (75%) said the Government should make cutting £10 billion worth of red tape a top priority in the productivity plan.

The building of more housing and forging of greater links with emerging markets was also marked out as a step in the right direction.