Large diaspora in UK can benefit from FTA with India: report – News

The first talks for the agreement have started

Reuters file

By Prasun Sonwalkar

Published: Sat, March 5, 2022, 4:24 PM

A new report released on Friday suggests that Britain’s 1.5million-strong Indian diaspora and others are keenly interested in a free trade agreement (FTA) with India, giving numerous examples of individuals creating and running large businesses in Britain.

Compiled by London-based consultants Grant Thornton and launched at the Indian High Commission to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the report, titled “India in the UK: The Effect of Diaspora 2.0”, reflects the economic growth of the Diaspora. influence in Britain.

The post-Brexit UK is keen to do an FTA with India. The first talks for the agreement have started.

The first such report published in February 2020 estimated that there were at least 654 diaspora-owned businesses in the UK with an annual turnover of £100,000 or more – excluding partnerships or partnerships. sole traders – with combined revenues of £36.84bn.

The largest employers – those with more than 1,000 employees – provide about 174,000 jobs. Together the companies have contributed over £1 billion in corporation tax and invested some £2 billion in capital expenditure.

The figures do not include nearly 900 Indian companies based in Britain, but reflect those owned by generations of professionals, individuals and groups of Indian descent who have migrated to Britain over the decades.

Anuj Chande, Head of South Asia Group, Grant Thornton, said: “India is already an important partner for the UK, so an FTA is a natural next step to further strengthen the relationship. The current generations have been described as Britain’s best ambassadors to India and have a key role to play in attracting Indian investment to the UK and British investment to India. »

The new report delves deeper into the dynamics of the diaspora’s contribution, explores the sectors where their businesses are having a huge impact, and features a series of interviews with leading entrepreneurs, both those running established businesses and others who innovate.

It also presents the geographic distribution of the diaspora across the UK and explores its contribution beyond business, including some of the challenges faced by diaspora entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are active in several sectors, the most popular being hospitality, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, retail, real estate and construction, food and beverage, technology and telecommunications, and services to businesses.

The first generation of migrants established successful small and medium-sized businesses, often employing other members of the community. Many have developed these businesses into larger scale successful businesses such as Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja, Swraj Paul, Lakshmi Mittal, Karan Bilimoria, Kartar and Tej Lalvani, Mohsin and Zuber Issa, Arora Brothers and Kuljinder Bahia. Their lead was taken up by a large number of later generations.

The report identifies some common themes in diaspora success stories: the importance of family support, the determination to succeed through thick and thin, a strong work ethic and optimism for the future.

Usha Prashar, President of FICCI UK, said at the launch event: “The Indian Diaspora connects India to the world. It is heartening to see how well members of our great diaspora have integrated into the countries and societies where they live and work.”

Indian High Commissioner Gaitri Issar Kumar said: “One of the main pillars of the strong relationship between India and the UK is the Indian diaspora – described as the ‘living bridge’ by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “

“(This) community is valued for its outstanding contribution in all spheres of endeavour: academic, literary, artistic, medical, scientific, athletic, industrial, business and political, among others, which has been widely acknowledged with appreciation,” she added. .