De­volve pow­ers to our ru­ral coun­ties

Cities are over­shad­ow­ing coun­try firms says busi­ness leader

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - BUSINESS - By Philippa Bat­ting Bucks Busi­ness First

IN OR­DER for Buck­ing­hamshire’s busi­nesses to con­tinue to de­liver a re­turn on re­cent in­vest­ment from the ex­che­quer through its lo­cal growth deal, the county needs re­gion­ally-de­volved pow­ers and funds sooner rather than later.

I was re­cently re­minded of prime min­is­ter David Cameron’s re­marks at the CBI Con­fer­ence last year, where he stated that jobs growth is go­ing to come from start-up busi­nesses and SMEs.

Given that Buck­ing­hamshire is home to the high­est pro­por­tion of busi­nesses with fewer than five em­ploy­ees (75%) and fewer than 10 (86%) in the coun­try, and is con­sis­tently one of the UK’s most pro­duc­tive

WE NEED MORE POW­ERS: Philippa Bat­ting, of Bucks Busi­ness First places, the Prime Min­is­ter and should know the county’s busi­nesses are a safe bet for in­vest­ment if they want to see growth.

The gov­ern­ment should nur­ture what Do­minic Grieve, MP for Bea­cons­field, called ‘the milk cow of the UK’, at a meet­ing hosted by Buck­ing­hamshireBusi­ness First with sev­eral ru­ral busi­nesses and the five county mem­bers of par­lia­ment in at­ten­dance.

Con­sider ru­ral busi­ness, of which there are many in Bucks. Ev­ery busi­ness has its unique set of hur­dles to over­come but is­sues like avail­abil­ity and strength of broad­band, stan­dard of roads and public trans­port links will im­pact more on ru­ral busi­nesses. De­spite this, ru­ral ar­eas have out­per­formed ma­jor ur­ban cities, ex­clud­ing Lon­don, on job cre­ation since 2004 and did so on gross value added per hour in 2013.

Re­mov­ing Lon­don from sta­tis­tics cre­ates a fair com­par­i­son be­tween ru­ral ar­eas and those ma­jor cities ear­marked to de­liver suc­cess for the UK econ­omy through the gov­ern­ment’s north­ern pow­er­house and city de­vo­lu­tion bill. This com­par­i­son calls into ques­tion the gov­ern­ment’s in­vest­ment in cities as a way to pro­duce the growth they want, rather than in dy­namic wealth cre­ators like Buck­ing­hamshire.

As a county that doesn’t have a city, and whose dis­tricts are de­fined by gov­ern­ment as ‘mostly ru­ral’ or ‘ur­ban with sig­nif­i­cant ru­ral’, Buck­ing­hamshire’s busi­nesses are well placed to lead the na­tional econ­omy to­wards sus­tained growth.

The small busi­ness, en­ter­prise and em­ploy­ment bill is mak­ing its way through par­lia­ment with its fo­cus on open­ing up new op­por­tu­ni­ties for small busi­nesses to in­no­vate and com­pete, so who bet­ter than Buck­ing­hamshire’s small busi­nesses to take ad­van­tage of these op­por­tu­ni­ties and de­liver even greater pro­duc­tiv­ity with de­volved funds?

For free mem­ber­ship of Buck­ing­hamshireBusi­ness First, call 01494 568937 or visit www.bbf.uk.com. THERE was a lit­tle bit of clown­ing around, quite a lot of cake and some mu­sic in Che­sham town cen­tre on Satur­day as traders cel­e­brated the fifth an­niver­sary of the lo­cal pro­duce mar­ket.

And glo­ri­ous sun­shine helped en­sure the mar­ket stall­hold­ers did a brisk trade.

The mar­ket show­cases lo­cal pro­duce from around a 10 mile ra­dius of Che­sham. Run in part­ner­ship by Tran­si­tion Town Che­sham and Che­sham Town Coun­cil, the mar­ket has gone from strength to strength in the last five years.

Start­ing out as a food and drink mar­ket, it has grown to en­com­pass crafts and plants. With a free char­ity pitch avail­able at ev­ery mar­ket, it has helped more than 20 lo­cal com­mu­nity groups and char­i­ties, from Workaid to Chiltern Cats Pro­tec­tion, to raise funds and aware­ness.

Shop­pers on Satur­day en­joyed free park­ing in the Water­meadow car park, a slice of cake made by Ann from the Scrump­tious cake stall, mu­sic from lo­cal per­cus­sion­ist Jo May ac­com­pa­nied by Tom Fair­bairn on fid­dle and the an­tics of Rain­bow the Clown.

For in­for­ma­tion about the mar­ket, in­clud­ing a list of reg­u­lar stalls, visit www.che­sham.gov.uk.

CHO­CO­LATE HEAVEN: Ian Scott from Au­berge du Cho­co­lat

ALL SMILES:

Lisa Cater

HAV­ING A BALL: Rain­bow the Clown

HAPPY BIRTH­DAY: The cake was pop­u­lar

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