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Star comment: Do not let the middle be choked

By Pete Madeley | Business | Published:

The needs of medium-sized businesses across the country are often overlooked when we consider the state of our economy.

Large firms have powerful figures and organisations lobbying government on their behalf, while the success of small businesses is considered a key indicator when looking at the state of the nation.

But wedged somewhere in the middle are the hundreds of thousands of companies that do a grand job in keeping our economy ticking over, particularly in these times of Brexit-led uncertainty.

And new figures released by business advisory firm BDO show just why we should never undervalue mid-sized businesses.

In the West Midlands alone such firms created 65,000 jobs last year, up 11 per cent from the previous year to 686,000. Meanwhile, over the same period, the 11 largest businesses across the region experienced lower growth of just two per cent, creating around 3,000 additional jobs.

The West Midlands picture is mirrored across the UK, where an extra half a million positions were created by medium-sized companies in 2018, a rise of eight per cent.

Clearly, any new employment opportunities should be welcomed. Growth will boost our economy, whatever the size of business it emanates from.

But there is a genuine risk that with so much focus being on small and large businesses, those who are caught in the middle are overlooked.

Our politicians’ failure to deliver a Brexit deal has ramped up economic uncertainty that has been around since the EU referendum vote.

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Businesses of all shapes and sizes have battled on in what have undoubtedly been testing conditions. But while some major firms have reduced production – or even shifted it abroad – and cut staff, the mid-sized companies have continued to forge ahead.

Their entrepreneurial spirit has shone through, enabling industries of all types to flourish.

Whatever eventually happens with our departure from the EU, it is vital the UK’s post-Brexit government gives mid-sized firms the respect and attention they so richly deserve.

They are the lifeblood of our economy and simply must be given the conditions that allow them to thrive.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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