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Shadow Chancellor visits Hastings to listen to business


John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, (pictured with FSB 1066 Area Leader, Nicolae Trofin) visited Sussex Coast College in Hastings as part of a business and community engagement programme termed ‘The Road to Rebuilding the Economy’.

FSB were kindly invited to the event and listened to presentations upon Labour’s policies for business and the economy and how in Preston, the Labour Council was setting about regenerating the economy through public procurement projects to stimulate local business.

“The table discussions were enjoyable and we were able to articulate our views during plenary presentations on the pressing need for business rate reform, curbing the rise in business costs imposed by utility companies and better transport infrastructure for the south east”, said Martin Searle, Development Manager for Sussex.

The ‘Preston Model’ is a concept for community wealth building which includes a greater commitment to public procurement from local business as a catalyst for growing local economies.

“FSB campaigns for Government and Councils to level the playing field for smaller local firms to compete for tenders, so we were keen to hear more on this”, added local FSB volunteer, Kerry Weller, who attended the event. FSB also helped to generate discussion on business education partnerships and their importance to giving young people the work readiness and business skills they need to contribute to the economy.

“There are signs of improvement, through the Industry Champions and Enterprise Adviser programmes that are in place in Sussex, but there is still a way to go on this agenda”, said FSB’s Nicolae Trofin.

FSB also secured some time with John McDonnell MP and Council Leader (and Parliamentary candidate at the General Election), Peter Chowney, to discuss the FSB’s #ThinkSelfEmployed campaign, including the policy and legislative changes needed to help the 4.8 million climb higher.