Speaking at the annual Blackdown Hills Business Association (BHBA) dinner in Dunkeswell on Thursday night (October 6), Lib Dem MEP for the South West Sir Graham Watson took the opportunity to talk about the current state of European funding streams and how the coalition government and Europe are helping to support small business.
Sir Graham also pointed out that under the coalition government, a principle has been adopted under which, for every new regulation introduced, an existing regulation is scrapped. This ‘one in, one out’ approach will help keep down levels of red tape.
Sir Graham also discussed how the coalition government had extended the Business Rate Relief scheme, meaning that any small business with a rateable value of under £18,000 could claim up to half of their business rates back.
Following the keynote speech, Sir Graham answered a variety of questions, on issues such as the eurozone to teaching foreign languages in schools and was pleased to have met with so many local businesses.
He said: “It is encouraging to see a business association that is so rural centric continuing to be so well supported. When the going gets tough, the tough get going and the members of the BHBA are getting tough together. Sharing experiences, learning from successes and mistakes in order to keep this wonderful part of the world economically prosperous.
“Key to my discussions on Thursday night is what businesses need to do to protect themselves in the recession. European funding schemes such as the LEADER project is crucial but with the comprehensive spending review, these funds have taken a major hit. We must press the government to continue to match these funds and provide businesses with the help they need.
“I will be pressing to ensure continued financial support for Devon businesses in the next EU funding round.”
(from a press release)