Campaigning for support for local businesses & Morley town centre

Walk through Morley on a sunny Saturday morning when the town is full of shoppers and you might not realise the town had been through a tough few years. But many local retailers tell a different story. With money tight for shoppers, it has been tough and many businesses have struggled with business rates, rent, rising fuel costs and increased VAT to contend with.

I speak to Morley Chamber regularly, the local Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses has the office across from mine, and I visit local firms whenever I can. Some have fared ok through the recession, but almost all have struggled with business rates. Why, one Morley businessman asked me last week, should retailers in town centres be paying higher business rates than big national chains locating out of town?

We need more help for business, especially small ones who want to grow and expand. Nationally I’ve called for business rates to be cut and then frozen which would save the average small business £400. I also want to see energy prices frozen and the market reformed to give business and residential customers a better deal.

But as well as the work I’ve been doing in Westminster to change national policy, I’ve also been working hard locally, with the Chamber, local Councillors, Leeds City Council officers and others to get more for our town.

We have some fantastic national, and international companies on our doorstep but can they do more for us here in Morley? O2 already piloted their ‘priority local’ scheme in Morley town centre and I’ve been asking what else they can do. White Rose regularly offer local businesses advice and access to stalls in the White Rose Centre but is there more we can do? And Morrisons is where very many people begin their shopping trips to Morley. So I’ve been speaking to them about what we can do to ensure Morley Morrisons is truly a gateway to our town centre.

From my meetings with them I know that each of these big companies wants to do what they can to support the town centre too. And I’ll be keeping up the pressure to ensure they do all they can to support our town and really get Morley on the map.

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Posted June 1st, 2014 by Ed