Despite Tough Times, UK Should Remain Optimistic - Droitwich Standard

My life as an MP is never routine even in my seventeenth year representing Worcestershire. For example, this week the Israeli Ambassador asked to meet me in my role as Chairman of the Business and Enterprise committee to discuss British-Israeli economic relations.

We met in my office in Parliament, and I used the opportunity to express the concerns of my constituents about recent Israeli action in Gaza. Given the recent controversies his country has been involved in, I was surprised the Ambassador had time to think about anything else.

Yet despite decades of uncertainty, and the evermore fragile roadmap-to-peace, I was impressed that his country was still looking forward optimistically to a brighter economic future for Israel and all its neighbours.

The meeting reminded me that we in the UK should also look forward. The recession is biting hard, and is likely to sink its teeth in even deeper; 2009 is likely to be one of the most difficult in living memory.

But it will get better, and it is up to politicians like me to do all we can, both big and small, to help this happen as soon as possible.

This week I will take the first step in bringing forward a law to make rate relief automatic for all small businesses, instead of the current system with businesses having to apply for it. This already happens in Scotland and Wales why not in England too?

Making these payments automatic would ensure businesses get the money they are entitled at present only half of them apply. It would be a boost to small businesses and cut costs to those local authorities that actively advertise the availability of the rate relief.

Times are tough. But with more measures like these we have a real chance of getting back on track.


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