Local MP draws large audeince despite holiday weekend
Around sixty representatives from local businesses, voluntary organisations and members of the council attended thebestofhaverhill meeting with local MP, Matthew Hancock, which took place last week at Days Inn Haverhill.
Continuing with the theme of "Wanting the best for Haverhill”, Matthew Hancock was invited to review his year as the town’s MP, to talk about the public sector spending cuts and the impact of the Big Society for local businesses.
Cut the red tape
Matthew spoke about how the experiences within his family business had influenced him to pursue a career in politics. He cited the difficulties caused by Government with red tape and bureaucracy, for people who were simply trying to run a business and create jobs, as something which had driven him into politics. He wanted to make it easier for businesses to “do business”.
Matthew said it had been a pleasure to represent Haverhill at Westminster during his first year as our MP.
Public sector spending cuts
With regard to the public spending cuts Matthew explained that it had been necessary to take strong action now to reduce the deficit as a precursor to growth and for the sake of future generations. He felt that Haverhill had weathered the economic storm better than most other areas because the town was not heavily reliant on public sector jobs; it was mainly a business employed town.
He asked local businesses to share their problems with him and he would take their issues to Westminster. Matthew said he understood that businesses wanted things to happen faster and for it to be easier to employ people.
The Big Society
On the subject of the Big Society, Matthew commented that there were some great examples of the Big Society in action in Haverhill. The town has a strong voluntary sector and a lot of people who come together to improve the environment and solve problems.
Matthew emphasised the importance of values. He said that you get out what you put in and that there should be support for aspirations and enterprise and for those who play by the rules.
A number of questions were asked and issues were raised during the final session. Paul Donno from Paul Donno & Co Ltd accountants and business advisors commented that some of his clients were being badly affected by the “hard lines” approach being taken by HM Revenue and Customs, particularly with regard to the “Time to Pay” scheme. Despite the assurance from government that this scheme was still open to small businesses Paul Donno said the reality was quite different.
The impact of the Royal Wedding on the small businesses was another issue raised by Paul Donno, he felt that the timing was completely wrong and the cost to businesses had not been thought through. Matthew responded that he had not been involved in the planning of the Royal Wedding, which he believed would be a “once in a generation” event, but he did understand the impact on small businesses and did not support the campaign to create a bank holiday on St George’s Day.
Other questions and issues related to the high price of fuel in Haverhill compared to other areas in the county; the introduction of superfast broadband; the proliferation of employment legislation and the need for portable CRB checks. Matthew promised to tackle all of the issues raised at Westminster, commenting, "Haverhill has great energy and momentum, and it was fantastic to have a chance to listen to local businesses about how I can help them make the most of opportunities for the town. I thoroughly enjoyed the lively discussion, which was informative and very useful."