Shadow businesses minister Toby Perkins visited County Durham this Thursday (11 July 2013) on a fact-finding mission to see how Labour is making a difference locally to help small and medium sized businesses flourish, before chairing the inaugural meeting of the North East Labour Councillors Business Network.
Mr Perkins, who is Labour's shadow small businesses minister, meet with council leader Simon Henig before being shown some of the ways in which the council is championing and supporting local employers.
He visited the National Centre for Printable Electronics and Kromek at Netpark in Sedgefield before meeting with local business leaders.
Later in the afternoon, senior Labour councillors from across the region will came together at Netpark with Toby Perkins and Simon Henig at the first meeting of the North East Labour Councillors' Business Network, a forum for idea sharing and discussion on how Labour councils can further improve their support for local business growth.
Speaking ahead of his visit, Toby Perkins MP, Labour's shadow small business minister, said:
“Although Labour are out of office nationally, there is still much we can do to support the small businesses who are the lifeblood of our economy. Labour wants to see more people setting up and working in business.
“Across the country Labour councils and councillors are often the first point of access for small businesses seeking support. Durham County Council is the perfect example of a Labour authority demonstrating how the next One Nation Labour government will champion and support small business growth and jobs.
“That’s why I’m looking forward to visiting Netpark on Thursday to see this work first hand. We will also be welcoming Councils from across North East in the afternoon to help spread and share this best practice.”
Dr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council said:
“Facilitating new job creation and growing the economy is a key priority for Durham County Council. Across the County we are looking to support new start-ups and the growth of existing businesses. Despite the challenging economic circumstances this is an exciting time for County Durham with preparations well underway for the arrival of Hitachi there are great future opportunities for local small businesses in the supply chain.
“The important role small businesses perform for the nation’s economy and their role in getting the country back to growth should not be underestimated so I’m really pleased to be welcoming Toby to Durham to show him what we’re doing in County Durham.”
Later in the day, Toby Perkins visted NIFCO Ltd in Eaglescliffe with Labour's new candidate for Stockton South, Louise Baldock to discuss the findings of Labour's Small Business Taskforce with Stockton businesses, the FSB and other stakeholders. The Taskforce has made recommendations on how to improve access to finance for SMEs including the reform of the banking sector through the introduction of regional banks.