Our agenda for sustainable growth

The end of the Parliamentary term is always a time for reflection. This week, I thought I’d take a look at progress made on achieving the Coalition’s top priorities – redressing our country’s finances and achieving sustainable growth in the future.

I thought I’d mention a handful of the things we’ve done which will have made a difference to businesses – small and large – in the Horsham area and which in turn help the local economy, keep people in their jobs and help our national economic recovery:

We’ve scrapped or improved over half of the 1,200 regulations considered part of the ‘Red Tape Challenge’ – something that will put a spring in the step of many local business people.

We’ve introduced funding to support a network of 15,000 mentors – mentorsme.co.uk – who provide experienced and practical support to existing businesses and new start-ups

We’ve supported the establishment of 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships – including our very own and very pro-active Coast to Capital LEP – which bring together business and civic leaders to promote local economic growth.

We’ve protected the £4.6bn ring-fenced science and research budget for this Parliament.

We’ve successfully separated Royal Mail and Post Office Limited, securing the accrued pension rights of Royal Mail employees. Of most importance to many local people will be the protected £1.34bn branch renovation scheme and the prevention of any future programme of post office closures.

Over 450,000 people have started apprenticeships since 2010 – businesses are also in receipt of a £1,500 incentive payment per apprentice taken up, supporting up to 40,000 new apprentices in 2012-13.

We have increased the unfair dismissal qualifying period from one to two years and launched a new online tool for business: ‘Taking on an Employee’

The Queen’s Speech in May detailed further reforms on employment and dispute resolution, competition, improved governance of directors’ pay, flexible working, shared parental leave, banking reform and yet more cutting of red tape.

So, we’re not letting up on our agenda of helping businesses across the country. If any readers would like me to come and visit their business, however large or small, please get in touch with my House of Commons office – speaking to local business people really is the best way for me to keep up with issues affecting our local and national economy.