Worcester open for business

Robin Walker has praised the Government’s record on business and reaffirms his support for businesses within the City.

There are over 3,000 businesses registered within the City, and of these 86% are small enterprises employing between one and ten people. Acknowledging and appreciating the value and importance of locally run businesses has always been a priority for Robin, which is why as Worcester’s Member of Parliament he has always been a vocal campaigner for SMEs.

Robin with fellow Worcestershire MP Rachel Maclean at Youth Unemployment Parliamentary reception

Worcester’s local economy is extremely active, with over 60% of the workforce living and working within the City itself and the highest level of in-commuting in Worcestershire; a nod to the employment rate and liveliness of Worcester City.

Nationally, successive Conservative Governments have worked hard to create policies and legislation that ensure business is well-supported to create a stable economy based on growth and encouraging entrepreneurism.

At the start of 2017, there were a record 5.7 million private sector businesses- an increase of more than 2 million since 2000- and of these 99.9 per cent were small or medium size enterprises. The combined annual turnover of SMEs is over one trillion pounds, accounting for 47 per cent of all private sector turnover in the UK.

Robin has welcomed the fact that the UK now has the joint lowest rate of corporation tax in the G20 and will have the lowest by next year, this fresh round of cuts will save small and large businesses a further £6.6bn by 2021 and will benefit 1.1 million businesses.

Robin with the SJL Insurance team in Worcester for National Apprenticeship Week

Robin has led campaigns for business rate reform throughout his Parliamentary career and as a backbencher was a member of the Business Select Committee. In this capacity, Robin called for a major report into high streets and the future of retail and has strongly supported recent measures implemented by the Chancellor; as part of a £1.5billion pledge to combat the dominance of major online retailers and support local businesses, the Chancellor unveiled £900million in immediate business rate relief for small retailers last year.

Locally in Worcester, £4.5million was released from the Government’s Cultural Development Fund to restore and transform 8 new creative spaces in the City’s iconic railway arches. This funding is not only expected to create a vibrant hub of business and leisure but will also support more than 60 new jobs. National Pothole Day saw a whopping £6.6 million pumped into Worcestershire to improve roads and ease congestion and delay around the county.

The positive effect of investment in small businesses, especially retail and hospitality, in Worcester is demonstrable across the board with the City’s footfall over the Christmas period up by 0.3 per cent while the figures across the nations saw a decrease of 3.2 per cent over the same year. Unemployment rates have plummeted across all demographics in Worcester when compared with 2010 with a noticeable 75 per cent increase in youth employment.

Work has begun on the final phase of the much anticipated dualling of the Southern Link, a vital project to facilitate the flow of traffic around the City and take pressure off the City Centre.

Commenting on Worcester’s business record, Robin said:

“I will continue to work hard in Parliament to ensure that small, local businesses in Worcester are thriving, expanding and employing.”

“I wholeheartedly welcomed the news that smaller employers are to receive more support, with 95 per cent of apprenticeship training costs covered by the Government. We have had an exceptional few years in the City in terms of apprenticeships and I am keen to see this go from strength to strength.”

“Since I became an MP, the Government has placed business-led recovery at the heart of its plan, cutting corporation tax from 28 per cent to 19 per cent. Businesses need certainty and stability, and I am so pleased that Corporation Tax is due to fall again to 17 per cent, the lowest in the G20. These tax cuts and incentives are so important and allow existing businesses to thrive and encourage new businesses to be set up. Worcestershire has a fantastic and varied business environment, and in my capacity as a Minister in DexEU I have always sought to put businesses at the heart of negotiations.”

“I was pleased and privileged to co-chair the Business and Trade Union Advisory Group this week supporting work on alternative arrangements and ensuring that whatever the changes to the backstop might look like they are workable for British businesses.”

“Our county is home to so many global brands like Morgan Cars, Worcestershire Bosch and the Worcestershire 5G Consortium is trail blazing the UK’s digital revolution. Alongside the thriving business sector, and in many ways due to it, tourism into the City has increased fuelling the local economy.”

“I do not believe that we can pass up on the opportunity to free up the markets of the wider world, and it is vital that as negotiations continue we push for the best outcome for British businesses and of course place the Faithful City on the global business map. It is my hope that the next Prime Minister will maintain and improve this legacy and see business as a top priority in order to safeguard the economy.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For Robin’s previous releases on business, please see:

For more information on business and the Government, please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy