Presentation by Marcus Jones MP
The high profile well attended meeting held by Hinckley and District Chamber of Trade last evening was highly successful with an excellent and very informative Presentation given by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Local Government Marcus Jones MP addressing The Business Community of the Town and Hinckley Area.
The Minister was welcomed to Hinckley on behalf of Hinckley and District Chamber of Trade and the Business Community by the President Rosemary Wright who outlined the aims and ambitions of a very pro-active organisation representing Businesses in the Town and Borough. She explained that the Chamber of Trade is a “non political body dedicated to assisting and promoting local businesses and are committed to give practical and relevant support to issues of concern. They campaign to influence issues which are contrary to and effect the well being of member businesses, their employees and customers and ultimately the Town and Borough.”
Rosemary went on to explain that the” membership of the Chamber of Trade represented all business from Retail to Professional services including Insurance, Legal, Financial, Travel, Property, Construction Trades, Manufacturing, Hair and Beauty, Hospitality and even a Football Club and a Theatre. They believe that there is strength in numbers and a strong and pro-active Chamber of Trade is the most effective way to influence decisions made on our behalf which effect the Town and Area in which businesses, their employees and customers, who are normally residents are located and function”.
Introduction To Marcus Jones
“The meeting this evening is very special. Special because we have here our Mayor Councillor Richard Allen and extra special because we have a very special Guest Speaker to address us. He is the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for local Government Marcus Jones MP. and I would not only like to welcome you here this evening Marcus but give a brief resume of your career to date.”
“Marcus worked in the private sector for 16 years prior to his election to Parliament in 2010. He has run several small businesses and for over a decade was conveyancing manager for Tunstain Jones Solicitors”.
“He has previously worked as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sports.”
“Prior to his election to Parliament Marcus was a Councillor on Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council serving as Leader from 2006-2009. He stood down as Council Leader in 2009 to stand for Parliament”.
“Since entering Parliament he has quickly climbed to numerous exhalted positions, many of them business and job creation related “.
“Marcus was elected as Chairman of the All-Party Group for Town Centres in 2010. He was a member of the influential Back Bench Business Committee in the last Parliament. “
“Marcus sat on the Finance Bill Committee which scrutinised the Chancellors 2013 Budget.”
“He has also served as small Business Ambassador, a position he was appointed to by the last Prime Minister David Cameron”.
“Marcus Jones is a high profile and hard working politician and the Chamber of Trade and the Business Community are honoured to have him here this evening so with out further ado it is my privilege to introduce Marcus Jones MP.”
MARCUS JONES PRESENTATION AND ANSWER TO QUESTIONS
Marcus who spoke fluently, captivating his audience spoke for 45 minutes very interestingly and informatively:
We were all interested to learn that his family had lived and operated a record shop in Castle Street many years ago.
Marcus Jones gave us an overview of his work for the past 15 months whilst Minister for Town Centres and he spoke on the following subjects:
* He spoke of his Ministerial role and told us that he is a firm believer in local Businesses creating jobs which ultimately creates taxes to run local services.
* He talked about the changing shopping habits in the High Street with Internet Buying. He spoke of Towns and Businesses improving their digital skills with latest technology such as Parking Apps. —- Paying for parking with your mobile phone —–informing of where to park i.e. spaces available etc.
* He referred to Small Business rates exemptions coming in 2017 with rateable values of less than £12,000.
*He spoke on All Business Rates going to the Local Authority not the Government from 2020
* Marcus Jones referred to his stance on the EU referendum when he had campaigned to STAY in the EU purely for STABILITY. However now that the referendum has taken place which he agreed was the right move to have. He accepts the majority decision and is of the opinion that we must go “all out to look for Business opportunities Worldwide”. He believes that Theresa May is handling things correctly and is of the view that we will make a success of the position.
* Marcus Jones was very complimentary about the Town of Hinckley and congratulated us on how the HBBC and the various Stake Holders work together . He indicated that the Town was on the UP but he thought that the Crescent would be one of the last large developments with an anchor food store.
* He spoke on the Great British High Street Competition which Hinckley has entered but which has not been judged yet. He expressed his admiration at the Pro-Active organisations in the Town such as the Hinckley Town Centre Partnership BIDS and the Hinckley and District Chamber of Trade who work with the HBBC.
* He spoke of his belief in Starter Homes being built in Town Centres.
There followed, (although Marcus Jones had another meeting to attend and found it difficult to escape), a Question and Answer Session which turned out to be more of a Lobbying by Chamber of Trade Members to get our views across to Parliament to try to influence decision making on issues which effect Business, Employment , Shoppers and the Town/ Borough and Residents in General.
Subjects discussed—– Question asked , Subjects lobbied :
1) With much business on line it was thought that the Government should make the legislation fairer , so that local businesses have the same level of taxation as those selling in this country but operating from across borders who do not contribute fairly. Our businesses want a level playing field . Marcus assured us that this is a priority issue for this Government and they are looking into sorting out over border or evasion of taxation problems.
2) A lobby was highlighted regarding the fact that the HBBC together with BIDS had entered the Governments Great British High Street Competition and the importance of recognising the good work carried out in Town Centres such as ours.
3) A lobby thanking Marcus Jones for his support to significantly improve the A5 running through our area and particularly for bringing other MP colleagues to the table on this matter. The Council currently leads a partnership of over 18 authorities or agencies seeking to secure future investment in the A5 Corridor.
4) This question was in relation to Business rates being currently paid to central Government which from 2020 will ALL be paid to the Local Authority. The questioner was concerned that Landlords ( who are required to pay business rates on empty premises) had escaped doing that by letting their building to charities at a peppercorn rent. As Charities enjoy 80% rates relief this will inevitably deprive Local Councils and Borough Residents from funds much needed for improvement projects. Marcus Jones MP indicated that the rules governing rates relief etc. will still be dictated by Government.—-This was therefore a lobby to have an imput into this legislation/decision making by local Councils and Chambers of Trade and Town Centre Partnerships.
5) This question/ statement was regarding the large numbers of Houses dictated to be built by the Government and the fact that the Infrastructure such as Road networks, Doctors Surgeries, Dentists, Hospitals, Schools, Parking, Railways and travel networks, Services such as sewers, water etc and the trained personnel to man the infrastructures etc are not nearly keeping pace. How can this growth be sustained without massive investment which is not forthcoming.
6) Another of our members having listened to Breakfast TV had heard research quoting a loss on the high St of 2000 shops a year. It was understood that the cause was due to the Internet sales and out of Town centres with free and accessible parking. The questioner wanted easier Compulsory Purchase by Local Authorities to enable shops to compete with this type of parking. The Minister explained that the laws were already in place to allow Local Authorities to Compulsory Purchase under certain conditions, they need to use those laws.
7) It was considered by another member that Planning applications should be simplified and achieved in less time.
Fllowing thanks to all those who had attended , To the Mayor and our Special Guest Marcus Jones MP, to my fantastic hard working Committee who are second to none Gayner Johnson , Gary Bird, Jim Darlaston , Mark Foster , Ann Foster , Jan Kirby , Debbie Heron and Brian Wright
The Chamber of Trade Members and the Business Community gave Marcus Jones a great ovation for what had been a most enjoyable, informative presentation.
A professional video was taken of the proceedings by Mark Foster of Invision Media who is on the COT Committee.