West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas has called on the Prime Minister to help small businesses which are being hit by rising costs and increasing red tape.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Mr Thomas said that small businesses provided the lion’s share of jobs in Cornwall and on Scilly and that the economy depended “on the hard work and commitment of these employers”.
“However, the difficulties associated with attracting credit, rising operational costs and red-tape makes running a small business an increasingly difficult task,” he said in asking Theresa May to meet with him to discuss what the Government can do to help small business owners so that they could continue to be the engine of rural economies like West Cornwall.
Theresa May said that Mr Thomas had been a “champion” of small businesses in his constituency and told the Commons that she would be visiting the county in the next few weeks when she would be happy to discuss small businesses with him.
Mrs May insisted that the Government did recognise the challenges facing small businesses and had made £435 million available in the Budget to support businesses facing the steepest business rate increases.
This extra money was made available after Mr Thomas and other MPs highlighted the inequalities of a revaluation of business premises which resulted in businesses in some parts of the country facing massive increases in their business rates.
One of the towns worst affected was St Ives as a result of which Mr Thomas wrote to all the small businesses in the town asking them for details about the rent they were paying and to see if they wanted assistance.
He followed this up by challenging each individual case and requesting that the Valuation Office Agency undertook a revaluation of the whole of St Ives as well as pressing Treasury Minister David Gauke about the issue.