Next Metro Mayor urged to back family firms

Liverpool city region business leaders urge next Metro Mayor to back a ‘manifesto’ that offers more support to family-owned businesses. Tony McDonough reports

Mann Island
LIverpool City Region Metro Mayor is based at Mann Island. Picture by Tony McDonough


Merseyside business leaders are urging the next Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor to offer more support to family businesses.

People across Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton will go to the polls on May 2 to vote on who they want to be the Metro Mayor for Liverpool city region. There are five candidates.

Clear favourite to win is current mayor, Labour’s Steve Rotheram, who is seeking a third term. Other candidates are Jade Marsden (Conservative), Rob McAllister-Bell (Liberal Democrats), Tom Crone (Green Party) and Ian Smith (Independent).

Now Family Business UK (FBUK) has published its manifesto called Taking The Long-Term View, which lists “policies to unleash the potential of the UK family business sector”.

It is backed by a number of prominent family-owned businesses in the city region who are members of FBUK. They include Bibby Line Group, Boodles, Edward Billington & Son, Meade-King Robinson & Co, and TJ Morris which owns retailer Home Bargains.

This manifesto launch comes after a survey of FBUK members showed a majority of family businesses surveyed think the Government is not doing enough to help support businesses with long-term investment planning.

It found that a significant majority of members felt that the Government had been too focused on addressing short-term issues and wasn’t doing enough to provide stability for family businesses by delivering a long-term strategy.

A majority of family businesses were looking to increase their investments over the next five years.

The survey also found that family firms said not having access to the right skills was one of the major barriers they currently face, and that the apprenticeship levy needed completely overhauling and reforming.

In terms of skills the manifesto recommends replacing the Apprenticeship Levy with a Future Skills Fund. This, it says, would offer more flexibility on how businesses use the fund for skills and would encourage upskilling and career-long learning.


Steve Rotheram
Current Labour Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is favourite to win. Picture by Tony McDonough
Jade Marsden
Jade Marsden, candidate for Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor 2024
Rob McAllister-Bell
Rob McAllister-Bell, Lib Dem candidate for Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor 2024
Tom Crone
Tom Crone, Green Party candidate for Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor 2024
Ian Smith
Ian Smith, Independent candidate for Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor 2024


Chief Executive of FBUK, said: “In the UK, we are sitting on an enormous resource of entrepreneurialism in the form of our family business sector.

“Family businesses make up 90% of the UK’s total private sector firms, employing 14m people and contributing over £200bn through tax receipts each year alone.

“This manifesto represents our offer to policymakers… if implemented, they will unleash the enormous potential of the family business sector to support economic growth through responsible business practices.”

Bibby Line Group is one of Liverpool’s oldest businesses. It was established as a shipping company in Liverpool in 1807. Based at Exchange Flags in the city centre it is now a diverse international business.

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Board member Geoffrey Bibby added: “As a sixth-generation, Liverpool-based family business, I fully support the contents in the manifesto.

“The North West regional economy has always had a bedrock of family companies that, through thick and thin, have provided employment and community support through the years.

“The FBUK manifesto sets out policies that could be implemented to help North West family companies continue to prosper and grow.”

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