I was happy to visit a local business today after being invited by one of the directors, Mr Aziz, to talk about small businesses with him.
Firstpress, who are located in Birmingham, have been open 30 years and have recently moved into new larger premises. They employ a number of local people.
Myself and Mr Aziz spent time talking about the economy and I asked the question about whether we had turned the corner in his opinion. Sadly,he said he did not think we had turned the corner quite yet. One of the difficulties that this business faces is the fact that banks are unwilling to help businesses. Other difficulties that they have encountered have been the cost of business rates, which can be extortionately high.
However, much positive dialogue did come out of this conversation. It was brilliant to hear a businessman, who has done business world wide, tell me that the UK is the best place to work and do business, and the more he travels, the more he realises the value of being from the UK.
On my visit around the factory, I learnt more about the work at Firstpress. They manufacture plastic parts for a variety of items, for example, parts for boilers or vacuum cleaners.
As a member of the employment committee, I was keen to hear views on EU legislation that affects his business, and the story is the same that I hear time and time again; EU legislation is costly to implement and can prove to be detrimental to his business and it sometimes defies logic.
I am very grateful to Mr Aziz and the team at Firstpress for allowing me to see a local business in action and I wish them all the best through these challenging economic times.
We must keep working to support small and medium enterprises and I will do my upmost to oppose ridiculous legislation and fight for businesses in the West Midlands and UK.