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Prime Minister’s special message to readers of the Keighley News
7:00am Thursday 17th October 2013 in Keighley
Prime Minister David Cameron – in a special message to Keighley News readers – has outlined a major boost for the town’s small businesses.
In an open letter to the newspaper, he claims a government National Insurance cut will help Keighley firms create jobs.
And he welcomed plans for a £120 million clean energy complex at Marley – revealed last month as potentially providing employment for nearly 600 people – as evidence the town is “turning the corner” following the double-dip recession.
The Keighley News is among just three newspapers across the country chosen by the Prime Minister to relay his message about the businesses boost because the town is considered to be a success story.
“Although I fully acknowledge there is still a long way to go, our country is turning a corner,” said Mr Cameron.
“Our economy is growing and our deficit is falling. In the past three years, the private sector has created 1.4 million new jobs.
“Keighley is slowly starting to feel the effects of this recovery.”
But he added the struggle of recent years would only be worth it if the Government finished the job it started.
“I know there will be many Keighley News readers out there still desperate to get back into work,” he said.
“You don’t want warm words or empty promises – you want real action to help you find a decent, well-paid job.
“One of the best ways to get people into work is to back small businesses. They are the lifeblood of our economy, providing nearly half of all private sector jobs. But they often struggle with the cost of hiring new staff. We’ve got to do more to help them.
“That’s why we’re cutting National Insurance, the tax firms have to pay when they take people on.
“When someone is trying to create jobs in our economy, the government should be making it easier not harder. So we’re cutting National Insurance for every business by up to £2,000 from next April, meaning about 30,000 small businesses in Yorkshire and Humber will pay none at all. It will mean a business can take on four people on minimum wage before it has to pay any National Insurance contributions.
“Cutting National Insurance is good news for Keighley people. It’s going to help put wages in people’s pockets and offer hope for their families.”
The announcement was welcomed by Steve Seymour, manager of Keighley’s Airedale Shopping Centre and chairman of the Town Centre Association. But he said other measures were also needed.
“Anything that makes it easier for small firms – particularly independents – to start up or employ staff is a positive move,” he told us. “Independents are where more new growth will come from.
“The big benefit, however, would come from addressing business rates. They are ridiculously high – rates now are often more than rents.”
And his views were echoed by Keighley Central Labour councillor, Khadim Hussain, who said while the National Insurance reduction was “a step in the right direction”, much more needed to be done.
He said: “We have to go much further to support the growth of small businesses and enterprises.
“Deep government cuts and the double-dip recession have damaged people’s confidence. The economy isn’t growing at the rate it should and we need more investment in this region.”