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Bright future for business thanks to near £100,000 start up cashpot

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: December 12, 2013

Boost for business:  Last weekend's internationally-renowned Christmas Market

Boost for business: Last weekend's internationally-renowned Christmas Market

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Last week's Autumn Statement was good news for people in Lincoln – the jobs tax on all young people under 21 abolished, real help for the High Street including business rates help for 3,000 Lincoln businesses, energy bills down, fuel duty frozen and rail fare increases frozen.

This is all welcome support, but as the Chancellor said in his speech in the House of Commons, the job is not done.

We are only able to help hard-working people because we have taken difficult decisions to control spending. We are building a responsible recovery and our plan is working, but we need to keep going.

To this end, I welcome the news that 27 Start-Up Loans have been accepted in Lincoln worth £90,800 boosting small business in our city.

Start-up Loans provide alternate funding sources to back innovative businesses ideas with 10,000 loans worth £50 million having been given the green light nationwide.

News of the scheme's success came just days before the Government-backed Small Business Saturday on December 7 as a way of boosting local traders.

It was apt that Small Business Saturday coincided with a highlight in Lincoln's small business calendar – the Christmas Market.

Despite the stormy and blustery conditions on Thursday, my family and I, and thousands of other residents of, and visitors to, Lincoln enjoyed Christmas shopping at the market which, as ever, provided an opportunity for many entrepreneurs and both small and medium sized businesses in our city to ensure they increased their trade and business leading up to Christmas and into the New Year.

Similarly, I was pleased to see the representatives of Lincolnshire's Chamber of Commerce were in good form – and cautiously optimistic about the future – when I met with them, and other business representatives during last Friday, to discuss how I may assist exporters and those involved in international trade in Lincoln, Lincolnshire and throughout the East Midlands alongside the services offered by UK Trade & Investment.

On Thursday I once again addressed the University of Lincoln's School of Engineering students, this time on the issue of energy policy ahead of their studying of a module on the politics of energy in January.

The subject matter was particularly timely, of course, given the measures the Government has announced in response to people's concerns about the energy companies' recent price increases and the Government's announcement it has reached an agreement with EDF to build a new nuclear power station at Hinckley Point C in Somerset.

I was given a warm and friendly welcome by Dr Lucy Grant and her students and we enjoyed a wide ranging discussion after my lecture, for which I am really grateful.

On Friday I delivered a speech to the Lincolnshire Land Community Trust Conference entitled Localism in Action.

I discussed how localism, or what the Prime Minister has termed the Big Society, is the acceptance of the fact central government micromanagement does not work and the recognition that in our communities there are individuals, businesses and charities that are often better placed than local or national government to confront the problems our society faces.

Therefore, I argued, we must enhance the ability of the people of Britain to find solutions to the problems we face and I welcomed the Localism Bill and Act.

Next week, I will host my third annual Trustees of Lincoln Charities' Christmas Event at the Lincoln Cathedral Centre, which, for the third year running, has very kindly been sponsored by The Lindum Group.

This informal event will again provide another opportunity for me and various other elected and non-elected representatives of our local authorities, as well as other local public service and business leaders, to say thank you to the charity trustees of our city and county for the excellent work they do helping the vulnerable and needy in and across our city.

It promises to be another wonderful event which I will look forward to attending in the grounds of our historic Cathedral.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Georgina Mitchell of St Hugh's Catholic Primary School who won my Christmas card competition, kindly sponsored by Ruddocks of Lincoln. It was a difficult decision for my fellow judges Mel West, Content Editor of the Lincolnshire Echo, and Henry Ruddock Esq, but we chose Georgina's fantastic Christmassy drawing of Lincoln Cathedral with Flora Hodgkison and Ellen Walker (both of Minster's Preparatory School) coming a close second.

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