Robin Walker, Worcester’s MP, has shown his support for local small businesses ahead of Small Business Saturday by today visiting Cognet Training Ltd with local branch of the FSB. This Worcester-based business provides online training courses and accredited qualifications on first aid and health & safety. It was recently awarded a prestigious Environmental Health Award by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and is in the process of trainings its first apprentice.
The UK will be celebrating its third Small Business Saturday on 5 December 2015, where it is expected that 5 million small businesses across the UK will take part. Last year, 16.5 million people shopped in a small business last year, which was a 20% increase on 2013, and spent an estimated £504 million. Robin hopes that Worcester will play its part in making this grass-roots campaign an even greater success for 2015.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy and both during his time on the BIS Select Committee and in his current role as PPS to the Education Secretary Robin has consistently championed the interests of small business. He is also a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Apprenticeships and the Group for Youth Employment so he was particularly pleased to meet Dan, Cognet’s first apprentice who is working with the business and undertaking training at Heart of Worcestershire College.
Robin has welcomed the recent announcements from Worcester City Council of discounted car parking ahead of Christmas which will help the many small businesses in and around Worcester’s high street at this busy time of year but he also appreciates the importance of the many small and growing businesses beyond the retail sector of which Cognet is just one example.
The Coalition Government has already helped small businesses by reducing their corporation tax and making small business rate relief automatic. The Conservatives in Worcester City Council reduced parking charges to help the High Street. One of the most important changes to help small businesses was the £2,000 Employment Allowance introduced by the last Government and Cognet’s founder spoke to Robin about how this helped him to take on his apprentice.
Paul Steadman, the founder of Cognet also spoke to Robin about the importance of quality first aid training for employers and how his company had found new business through word of mouth recommendations, good relationships with customers and targeted online marketing. They discussed the value of first aid training in a week that Parliament will be debating the topic of first aid in schools and the importance of public and private customers paying promptly. Robin was pleased to hear that local councils have been amongst the more prompt payers.
Speaking about plans for Small Business Saturday in Worcester, Robin said
“I am delighted that the UK is embracing the idea of small business Saturday more each year. This should be an opportunity to celebrate all those businesses that create opportunity and jobs for so many thousands of people in Worcester. Whether it is high street shops, online start-ups, services or niche engineering businesses, small businesses make a massive contribution to our city and our economy. Much of the big fall in unemployment we have seen in recent months has been delivered by small businesses and I want to make sure they have the chance to deliver more. In particular I think it is truly exciting that so many small businesses, including Cognet, are taking on apprentices and I want to see this trend continue.”
“It was very useful to discuss the importance of quality first aid with someone who is such an expert in the field and to hear how Cognet’s membership of professional bodies and success with awards has contributed to their reputation for quality. When it comes to saving lives it is certainly vital that training is of the highest quality possible. It was also great to hear how a business of this sort has benefited from the employment allowance, the apprenticeship scheme and efforts in local government to improve the promptness of payment. There are many ways in which government can help small businesses and the stronger economy we are currently enjoying shows that all of these have worked.”
Notes to editors
For more information on the FSB see:
For more information on Small Business Saturday in Worcestershire see:
For more information on Cognet see: