I am pleased to have supported many new local businesses which are creating jobs and boosting the local economy. Since 2010 we’ve seen unemployment fall from 8% to a record low of 4% with more people in work than ever before. We’ve gained from new shop openings and Sidcup has received a big boost with the improvement works on the High Street backed by £1.6 million of funding from the previous Mayor of London. I also welcomed the positive news for Blackfen and its High Street as Bexley Council approved a £200,000 investment which has greatly improved the parking and pavements on Gloucester Parade as well as providing a new heavy duty cleaning vehicle which has made the High Street a more attractive place for businesses and residents through the regular ‘deep cleans.’ It is great to see the Council, local businesses and residents coming together to deliver these improvements and I hope to be able to work with the Council to secure further improvements for our local high streets.
It’s important that we maintain the current economic plan which has allowed firms to grow and new businesses in this area to get off the ground. The Government's aim to make the UK the best place to start and grow a business has seen business rates cut and small businesses protected from business rates during the last few challenging years. The Government's commitment to education and training has also seen 2,500 apprenticeships put young people in Old Bexley & Sidcup on the road to new skills, career potential and the chance to get on in life.
The Government will ensure this focus is maintained with 3 million more apprenticeships by 2020 and new measures to help small businesses to flourish.