Devolve powers to our rural counties
Cities are overshadowing country firms says business leader
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
HAVING A BALL: Rainbow the Clown
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: The cake was popular