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Shadow Business Minister’s day in the north east

Toby Perkins MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Small Businesses, spent 11 July in the North East, meeting local businesses and officials.

Tour on NETPark

BO5JzUlCMAATw3hFirst up on the itinerary was a tour of Durham’s North East Technology Park (or NETPark) which is a Council owned facility which provides space and support for emerging technology companies.

Through this NETPark is helping to diversify the North East’s economy with new and creative industries after the decline of the mining industry.

Amongst the new products created on site and tested by Toby was a new machine for scanning containers of liquid developed by a company called Kromek.  This machine will soon allow passengers to carry liquids safely onto aeroplanes.

BO5OPJ-CEAAxH1CAlso in development at NETPark is a new overnight mask which can prevent diabetes sufferers from going blind.  This could save the eyesight of millions around the world.

After touring these companies’ facilities Toby held a working lunch with other businesses on the Park and talked through Labour’s new plans to help small business access finance and the skilled employees they need.

North East LCBN Launch

Afterwards, Perkins launched the North East Labour Cllrs Business Network (LCBN).

The national LCBN was established by Toby, Chuka Umunna and Hilary Benn in London in late 2012 and is a forum where Labour Cllrs can share ideas, resources and best practice towards small business.  This year Toby has been travelling around the country to launch a regional network in every area and Labour Cllrs from each of the 12 local authorities in the North East region attended this launch.

BO5XuCLCMAAi-QIThe group heard three presentations.

Firstly, Cllr Simon Henig, leader of the County Council of Durham spoke about the need to diversify the local economy and to instil a more entrepreneurial spirit in schools for young people so that those of any backgrounds think they can set up and run their own business.

BO5bRjoCMAEFuSBSecondly, Cllrs Ged Ball and Michael Johnson from Newcastle City Council spoke about how they have regenerated and redeveloped the City including how they have used culture to develop jobs and growth.  They also highlighted the importance of apprenticeships.  Whilst the average Council employs 37 apprentices, Newcastle City Council has 117.

BO5g_9NCIAEQu5PThirdly, the new Leader of Hartlepool Council, Cllr Christopher Akers-Belcher, spoke about the difference even the smallest local authorities can make to local growth.

At the end of the meeting Durham’s Cllr Henig was appointed as the LCBN “Champion” for the region and will coordinate further discussion between the group.

Small Business Consultation

In the early evening, at the invitation of Labour’s new parliamentary candidate for Stockton South, Louise Baldock, Toby visited the facilities of local manufacturer Nifco.

Here Toby met with local businesses, representatives of the local college and university to discuss small businesses.

Toby and Louise were joined on the panel by Stockton entrepreneur Terry Owens.  Terry founded InBiz, a company which promotes enterprise skills. Under Terry’s leadership Inbiz helped over 30,000 people to move out of benefits by setting up their own business, and over 80% of these were still trading after two years.  He has also been a key member of the Labour Small Business Taskforce.


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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.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF


I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email to make a booking.

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