Simon Danczuk MP

Fighting for Rochdale, Littleborough and Milnrow

Letter from Parliament 20 November

Big businesses dominate our lives. Supermarkets, IT giants and ubiquitous soft drinks surround us. Sometimes it’s hard to go through a day avoiding them.

But spare a thought for our country’s five million small businesses, which are very much the backbone and lifeblood of the UK economy. These are often some of the most creative, innovative and customer friendly businesses around and that’s why I’m delighted to be supporting a national day celebrating small businesses on 6 December.

'Small Business Saturday' is a great opportunity for people to discover our town’s best small businesses and I’d urge everyone to go out of their way and pay a visit to a small local business. With Christmas just around the corner there are some great gifts to be had in Rochdale – and by spending your money here you’re keeping it in the local economy.

Some of the best community businesses are pubs and I was also pleased this week to see the Government defeated on a historic vote to end the beer-tie, which meant pubs were forced to buy over-inflated beer prices because of anti-competitive rules. Local landlords have long complained about this exploitative practice and the Campaign for Real Ale and Federation for Small Businesses have welcomed the vote.

Pubs will now be able to buy a wider range of beers at competitive prices. In the long run this will provide landlords with greater freedom and give customers cheaper beer and more choice.

This week also saw a high profile report by Ofsted on the way in which Rochdale Council deals with children at risk of child sexual exploitation. I was pleased to see that we’re making progress, but I was disappointed that Ofsted had only chosen to carry out a thematic review inspection on a handful of councils. They should be testing all councils on child sexual exploitation because this is a problem all over the country. It’s wrong to just continually single out Rochdale, particularly when Ofsted failed to identify problems previously.

In other news, the public finances remain in a terrible mess and we now know that George Osborne has borrowed more over the last four years than Labour did in 13 years. Rochdale has made big sacrifices in this Parliament and our council has endured some of the worst cuts in the country. Yet we’ve not had any reward from this Government and have been dealt a very unfair hand.​

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