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The Backbone of the Scottish Economy - Is Enough Being Done to Nurture Family Businesses?

The Backbone of the Scottish Economy - Is Enough Being Done to Nurture Family Businesses?

Although 70% of Scottish businesses are family businesses, it is surprising to the Burness Paull Family Business team that the nurturing and development of these businesses does not appear to receive greater attention.  We see plenty of policy making attention directed towards start up businesses and many industry sectors are very good at marshalling their interests. 

As a nation, we should be doing everything we can to nurture family businesses.  However, as reported in The Herald the Department of Business Innovation and Skills have identified 20 global competitive measures where Britain is failing.  Britain is rated 20th in the world for the speed at which planning permission is granted, 16th for the ease with which taxes can be paid and only 21st for enforcing contracts.  At Burness Paull we see these challenges reflected in many of the key issues concerning our family business clients, which include:

  • access to funding (Britain ranks 105th for soundness of our banks);
  • increasingly onerous and time consuming regulation (e.g. pensions and employment, environmental and procurement);
  • taxation (burden, complexity and increasing unfairness compared with multinational business);
  • sustainability and growth;
  • succession planning; and
  • access to management expertise/support.

The Family Business team at Burness Paull specialises in advising all forms of family businesses and we are pleased that these challenges have been publically identified and, having been so, should now be addressed. In the meantime we will continue to work hard for family business clients to assist them achieve their goals. We recognise that, despite the challenges they are faced with, Scotland’s family businesses have been and will continue to be the backbone of Scotland’s economy. That’s why we have chosen to support the Herald’s forthcoming Scottish Family Business Awards on 4 December by sponsoring the International Growth category.

Grant Stevenson

Burness admin