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Chris Galley

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Wednesday 8 April – Small businesses and the Start Up Loan Scheme

Today I got a press release from the Federation of Small Businesses,  which is a pressure group which campaigns for small businesses and the self employed. It’s a non partisan organisation which works with all the major parties. This is an important sector, employing 15 million people in 5 million companies. One of its campaigns, which I very much support, is Keep Trade Local, based on 3 Ps:

1) Parking can be vital for the high street
2) Planning can be too onerous
3) Procuring locally.

Some of Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians in Northumberland seem to struggle with some of the above.

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In addition to the large number of jobs created by this government, it has also done a fantastic job at fostering business start-ups, with over  300,000 business start-up every year since 2013 – the highest since records began. And the North East has had the greatest increase of any region in England, partially due to the low start point.

However there is more that can be done locally. One initiative has been the government’s small business Start Up Loan Scheme. Overall this has been very successful, with 25,000 loans granted, and 32,000 jobs created – hopefully a lot more will be created over time. However only 25 such loans have been granted in Wansbeck, covering about £100,000 of finance, which is at least half what it should be.  Furthermore the government plans to expand this scheme by a factor of 3, and unless something changes then we will continue to limp behind.

Politicians in Wansbeck really must do more to highlight this important scheme – this is a missed opportunity and we mustn’t lose out any more on this initiative. Given Wansbeck’s background we should be really encouraging local budding entrepreneurs to “give it a go”, after all Sir Richard Branson started as a teenager printing a magazine  in a bit of borrowed space in the back of a church.

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