I have spent longer working in business than in politics and I know that the real heroes in the story of our economic recovery are Britain’s businesses, whether large like Moy Park, Grantham’s largest employer, or small like the Picture Café, a welcome new feature on Wide Westgate.
Government can create the conditions for businesses to prosper – and, by bringing the deficit under control and keeping interest rates and inflation low, that is what we have done. But it is the willingness of businesses to take risks and invest in new capacity, it is their determination to create new products and win new orders that deliver the new jobs and the growing wages on which we all depend.
Last week, I attended a meeting of local engineering businesses at Grantham College: all of them invest in apprenticeships and send them to the College to for their formal training. Some of them are big regulated utilities like Anglia Water; others are entrepreneurial growth companies like Pentangle. But by employing apprentices they are all doing their bit to improve the skills of their workforce and bring on the next generation of engineering talent.
I believe that Grantham can exploit its superb transport links and the outstanding teaching of maths and science in some of its schools to turn itself into a centre of excellence for Britain’s engineering industry. I want to work with the council and the College and the Grantham Business Club to attract new engineering businesses to the town. The construction of the relief road, which thanks to the persistence of our district and county councils, is now finally underway, will unlock a lot of new industrial space and we want to make sure that we fill them with cutting edge businesses, employing highly skilled workers and paying them above average salaries which they can spend with other local businesses in the town centre. Grantham means business, because everyone in the town benefits from our businesses’ success.