Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero meets Local Enterprise Partnership

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ASHFIELD MP Gloria De Piero met members of the Local Enterprise Partnership this week to look at ways of boosting business across the district.

As part of the fact-finding mission Ms De Piero met with Peter Richardson, chairman of the region’s new Local Enterprise Partnership, and discussed potential plans for the economic development of Ashfield.

Mr Richardson was then taken to meet Zoe Thompson, who has run Floral Expressions in Kirkby for the last 13 years, who described some of the problems affecting business in the town.

Some of the main issues revealed were the current 20 per cent VAT rate, the damaging impact of bank charges for credit card use, the reduction in footfall across high streets and how the struggling economy was continuing to hit small businesses hard at a time when customers still remain reluctant to spend.

Zoe said: “We hardly hear anything at all from the banks and when we do it is because they are trying to persuade us to increase the overdraft.

“It has been such struggle to make a decent living, but hopefully things are starting to pick up.”

Mr Richardson said it was important that the Local Enterprise Partnership recognised the challenges ahead.

“It was great to meet with Zoe and find out more about small local businesses in the area and I was extremely impressed by her,” he said.

“It is very important that the Local Enterprise Partnership recognises the challenges that businesses owners face and also acknowledge how we can help businesses develop further and grow so that we have a vibrant and strong local economy.”

Following the visit Ms De Piero vowed to do all she could to help trade flourish.

She said: “I’ll do my best to raise all of the issues in Parliament over the coming months and make sure those ministers in charge are fully aware of the problems local businesses are continuing to face.

“In the meantime we can all do our bit for local businesses by going in and showing our support because many of them are the heart and soul of our communities”.

The meeting had been set up at the request of the Ashfield MP who was eager to discuss ideas as well as finding out what the new body can do to support much needed economic growth in Ashfield.

A Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a voluntary partnership between local authorities and businesses formed in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation.

The partnership covers Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.