I would like to thank a huge number of local businesses for attending the 2021 Solent Business Forum, it was great to see so many familiar faces and incredibly encouraging to see so many new ones.
It was an immense pleasure to speak alongside Mr Paul Scully MP; The Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets. Paul has an unrivalled pedigree in business, having run a number of small businesses in his lifetime and as such possesses an intrinsic understanding of commerce at both practical and Governmental levels. Over the years I have learned much from his professional insights and we were all able to benefit exceptionally from his expertise. It is no secret that 2020 has been an unprecedented year for the whole of the United Kingdom. Together all of us have felt the economic ramifications of this global pandemic as its shockwaves have reverberated across Europe. Similarly, this year has been marked by economic uncertainty and lamentably it has been our local businesses that have suffered disproportionately.
Fortunately, at the meeting we were able to discuss the Government's new measures – including £4.6 billion of new grants, extending furlough, more generous support for the self-employed, extending loan schemes and an ability to top-up Bounce Back Loans. This support will help businesses get through this difficult period. We will have a budget this March and this will be the time to take stock of the range of support that we’ve put in place and to set out the next stage of our economic response to coronavirus. As a Government we are going above and beyond to support businesses, including those in Fareham, to get back on their feet, but more importantly we are seeking to foster growth and innovation so that local businesses can begin to chart a course, away from uncertainty and towards a new and prosperous future.
If you are a local business and would like to join my Solent Business Forum to attend quarterly lunches (once the law permits) for networking and hearing from speakers in the business world, then email email@example.com. A big thank you as always to Tim and Annemarie Geoghegan, for helping me in running SBF and our informative meetings to support Fareham businesses.