Monday, 7 January 2013

Ben Gummer MP - Business in suffolk

Business is a priority for me. for this town. I know only too well how hard the last few years have been running a small business, as I have done exactly that for the last 8 years..

I have said before that until red tape is reduced and things made a bit easier for employers, I will never have any staff but choose to use 3rd party virtual assistants and experts if the need for extra resource arises. This means that others benefit from my business as I do from others. Its important that we remain optimistic for the future, as it's not all bad news for this area.

Ben's latest column shows that he is on the ball on this one and also sees it as a priority. I show it here in full:

Business in Suffolk

Back in November I addressed the new Ipswich Chamber of Commerce, which I launched with the Exchequer Secretary David Gauke (a former pupil of Northgate, as it happens) back in 2011.  It is clear that while business people are marginally more hopeful than a year or two ago, there is still much trepidation about the future - in UK but especially in Ipswich.

My impression then was that 2012 was a year of treading water for so many businesses, something borne out by a Barclays survey of their small business customers back in the late summer.  They found that activity had dropped very slightly, although Suffolk had done less badly than Norfolk and - surprisingly - Cambridgeshire.  A great deal of the decline was down to a significant reduction in agricultural revenues, a result of the poor weather and the pressure on food manufacturers at a time when most households are trimming their budgets.

The good news is that new companies in the east of England are achieving the fastest growth of any region other than the south-east, which is only just ahead; both are significantly in excess of the national average.  So we are producing good companies that are growing quickly, which is an encouraging sign for the future.

The trick now is to get some of that dynamism into our town, which was the central concern of the business people I spoke to in November.  As the Borough Council has identified, we have some of the lowest average weekly wages in the country here in Ipswich, a result not of benefit cuts or anything to do with the government but because we do not have enough better paid, high-skilled jobs in the town.  That is something we must all work together to put right.  It will take longer than a year but we must re-make a start in these first few days of the 2013.

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