Speaking up for British business
- 04:00 pm, Thu 25th Aug 2011
Speaking to Granada Reports about the importance of local businesses
My constituents raise a wide variety of issues with me on a daily basis, from questions about Government policy decisions to requests for help with very personal matters. In recent months I have seen a trend that links many of these issues, the economy.
The state of our economy and how to take it forward is the biggest challenge that the Government has to face. It affects everything from the provision of services here in Bolton, to the role that Britain can play in the world.
In my opinion the Conservative-led Coalition is taking the wrong approach. Everything they say is about cutting spending, but firing police officers will not improve our country. What we need to be doing is creating jobs to get the country working.
If we can restore growth to the economy and tackle unemployment then we will tackle the deficit, improve living standards and generate the money needed to protect our public services in the future.
With that in mind, I recently visited Bank Top Brewery in Astley Bridge. I wanted to see how local businesses were coping in the current economic climate. Thankfully the brewery has been able to maintain its success, but like many businesses it is facing big challenges because of the cost of the Conservative’s VAT increase and the rising cost of fuel.
What most impressed me was that Bank Top clearly understands the wider role that local businesses play in our community and build their plans for the future around this. Not only can the success of their products and their pub put money into the economy and provide good jobs for local people, it can drive the success of other businesses in the community.
The effects are most evident in our town centre. When shops are doing well or public events draw people into the town then other local businesses are likely to feel the benefit. Conversely, if shops are closing down and are using town centre shops then problems soon spread.
I believe it is in all of our interests to support local businesses and I will do what I can as the MP for Bolton North East to help businesses in my constituency through these difficult times.
I was able to arrange for Flat Cap, Bank Top’s signature ale, to be the guest beer at the Strangers Bar in the House of Commons. I hoped that this would bring some extra attention to the brewery, so I was pleased to see it reported in the Bolton News and when Granada Reports joined me at the Brewery.
I have also made Flat Cap my nomination for the Made By Britain project, which highlights ongoing innovation and production by British companies.
However, if we are to make real progress and encourage real growth then we need to see action from the Government. We have seen retail figures stagnate and growth is barely above zero in the last year. Businesses and consumers alike are suffering because of the combination of the VAT increase, the cost of fuel and inflation.
I will continue to campaign for the Government to reverse the VAT increase. This should ease inflation, it will certainly put more money back into the pockets of consumers and it will give businesses the boost they need to grow.
If we can help small businesses become medium sized, medium to become big, and big businesses to become world leaders then there can be huge benefits for our communities, for living standards and for our economy.
That is why I will support local businesses and that is why I hope you will to.