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Perkins launches second regional Labour Councillors Business Network in North West London

Yesterday in Brent, North West London, Toby Perkins MP launched the second regional Labour Councillors Business Network (LCBN).

The LCBN allows Labour councillors to share ideas, resources, best practice and develop new thinking.  It also helps Labour Groups seeking to win office to develop strong manifestos with sound business policies and ideas to secure jobs.

As Shadow Small Business Minister, Mr Perkins is the National Chair of the LCBN and is travelling around the country to set up local networks in each region.  The first of these, for the East Midlands, was launched in Nottingham in January, and Toby came Brent’s Park Royal Industrial Estate, one of the largest industrial parks in Europe, to launch the London-region LCBN.

Labour councillors from boroughs right across London attended the event and heard three presentations of best practice from excellent Labour Councils:

Brent: Cllr Mo Butt, Leader of the Council, and Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala who represents the Stonebridge Ward, which includes the Park Royal Estate
Mo and Zaffar outlined how Brent have used the “Destination Wembley” project to boost local small firms and have used Council procurement to ensure companies create apprenticeships in the borough.  They also highlighted how the Council are leading by example in paying supplier within 14 days and have decreased parking charges to make their high streets more inviting.

 

Camden: Cllr Sarah Hayward, Leader of the Council
Sarah explained how access to finance was the most pressing problem facing small businesses in Camden and explained how her borough is working with the peer-ro-peer lending site Funding Circle to get money to local firms.  Camden are investing £100,000 in the project and are keen to work with other Councils in the city to boost lending.

 

Merton: Cllr Stephen Alambritis, Leader of the Council
Stephen stated that “unlike the Tory-led government, in Merton we don’t just sit back and wait for big businesses to arrive”.  He described how Merton had won recognition for its excellent high streets and how the Council supported its high streets by using the Wimbledon championships to direct people to local shops and have insisted on support from large supermarkets for local shops.

 

After the presentations Cllrs from opposition groups and controlling groups in boroughs as diverse as Barnet, Greenwich, Bexley and Kensington discussed a wide range of ideas and ways to support local small businesses.  These included.

* Ensuring entrepreneurialism is open to all not just as a backstop for those out of work

* Working with the cooperative movement to support small businesses

* Giving local government more responsibility for local economic growth, and more powers to achieve this
* Setting an example with very prompt payment to suppliers

* Emulating schemes such as the Brixton pound.

 

Cllr Steve Cowan (right), the Leader of the Opposition on Hammersmith and Fulham Council, was voted in as the London region LCBN “Champion” with responsibility for co-ordinating future local LCBN meetings and ensuring Labour councils in the area work closely together to share ideas.

 

Toby Perkins MP, National Chair of the LCBN and Shadow Small Business Minister said:

“Although Labour are out of office nationally, there is still much we can do to support the small businesses who are the lifeblood of our economy.

“Across the country Labour councils and councillors are often the first point of access for small businesses seeking support. Labour wants to see more people setting up and working in business.

“At a time when the Tory-led government is making unprecedented cuts to local government it has never been more important for our councils to work together to support their local businesses and economies.

“That’s why I’m delighted to be here in Brent to launch the London LCBN. Labour councils from across the capital are doing some great work to support local small businesses, but this network will give them a platform to share those ideas and best practice and help Labour councils to develop a strong offer with sound business policies and ways to secure jobs.

“Councils from across the country are playing a huge role in demonstrating how the next One Nation Labour government will champion and support small business and I look forward to London playing its part.”

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I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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