Last Saturday, I was pleased to support Small Business Saturday in the Ludlow Constituency. I visited local businesses, as I do each week, to discuss what steps we can take to help deliver the growth they need to create quality local jobs.
Across South Shropshire, the vast majority of the 5,180 employers are small businesses – 99% employ fewer than 50 employees. So it is vital to our local economic prosperity that these businesses are able to develop and grow, but also that entrepreneurs do not face barriers when looking to start a new business.
With the festive season now well and truly underway, and following well supported switching on of Christmas lights in our local towns, the coming weeks are a great time to make the most of the small businesses in our area. For those readers who have not yet completed your Christmas shopping (or started it, in my case), there is still plenty of time to look in local shops for your presents this year. Many towns have late night shopping or markets to enjoy, which look all the more appealing illuminated by the Christmas lights.
The remarkable turnaround of the economy since 2010 has helped small businesses across South Shropshire deliver more jobs, cutting the number of people having to claim jobseekers allowance in half. So your support for small businesses this Christmas and throughout the year delivers real local benefit.
Small businesses rely on a growing economy, but this is not something we can take for granted. It requires sound management of the country’s finances.
Last week a Labour run Council in London was advised not to invest its pension fund in the UK due to the potential risk posed by the current Labour leadership. This highlights the real danger of the policies currently being put forward by Labour, which would see a run on the pound, capital flight, and ultimately, fewer prospects and jobs for people here in South Shropshire. The fact remains that every Labour majority government has left office with higher unemployment than when it came to power.
I am clear that our economy could not function without our small businesses and the hardworking businessmen and women who are behind them. So I was pleased to spend Saturday supporting the excellent range of small businesses in our area, and encourage local residents to do the same in the run up to Christmas.