Sevenoaks Business Show Awards 2017

Michael said wider society could learn from the values of small businesses in his address at the annual Sevenoaks Business Show Awards on Friday.

‘I support small businesses because they embody freedom and independence, individual responsibility and the principles of Meritocracy’, Michael said to an audience of local businesses.

‘In small businesses, you have a real stake in its success and the rewards gained are directly related to the effort that is invested.

Wider society has a lot to learn from small businesses.’

As Patron of the Sevenoaks Town Partnership, which organised the event, Michael spoke about the local economy, the achievements of local businesses and the support provided to small businesses by the Government.

He also highlighted the historic low unemployment levels and increasing number of enterprise startups in the constituency.

The full transcript of Michael’s speech can be found below.

 

 

Celebrating Local Enterprise                        15th September

[Introduction]

I am delighted to be here again at this great event as the Patron of Sevenoaks Town Partnership and to see so many businesses up for awards.

 

[Local successes]

Business is thriving in Sevenoaks in spite of the challenges we face.

Once again, I am delighted as your Member of Parliament to look back on a strong year for the town.

I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Sevenoaks Town Partnership,

Which is comprised of businesses and retailers,

Chamber of Commerce, Sevenoaks Town Council,

And the Sevenoaks Chronicle.

They play a crucial role in supporting local enterprise,

And we have seen the fruits of their hard work ripen.

Local businesses are continuing to grow,

Punching above their weight not only here in the UK…

But also selling across the world.

Were you aware, for example, of a business that develops off-grid renewable energy in rural Africa,

Based here in Sevenoaks?

Or of a business that stocks the House of Commons with its famous single-malt Scotch,

Whilst exporting vodka to Poland, gin to Europe, and Kosher whisky Israel,

Based here in Sevenoaks?

Children in Africa, who may know nothing about our country, nor understand our language, will know of Sevenoaks.

Many of the world’s leading figures, who purchase Parliament’s whisky as a souvenir for their friends and family back home, will know of Sevenoaks.

Our town continues to be the home of some of the most innovative and unique businesses in the country,

Most of them working out of small cabinets on our buzzing business parks.

Indeed, over 700 new enterprises have set their sights on success in Sevenoaks since 2010…

100 in the last two years…

That’s more than one business startup every week.

As more businesses begin and more enterprises expand,

There are more and more jobs to fill.

Local unemployment remains at a record low.

This puts the constituency in the top 50 out of 650 in the country.

That is something to be hugely proud of.

But it’s also something we can still work hard to improve.

Young people here now have a real choice when they finish their education.

With local business thriving, they can choose to work here,

Or, with connections to London improving, they can choose to work elsewhere.

Because Sevenoaks is not just a commuter town.

It is the birthplace of innovative businesses providing local employment, like yours.

 

[Government support]

Our successes locally can be attributed to the hard work and talent of local businesses and partnerships.

But our successes locally are not surprising when one considers the following:

The UK is already the fifth largest economy in the world, the biggest recipient of foreign investment in Europe, and the fastest growing economy in the G7.

I recognise that it is because of this success,

Both locally and nationally,

That many of you may be concerned about leaving the European Union.

As a businessman myself, I understand the pressures we face from uncertainty.

Rest assured, the Government’s top priority is securing the future of our businesses;

Especially the small and medium-sized businesses, like yours, that constitute 99 per cent of businesses in the UK.

Because this Government believes in small business.

With firms comprised of fewer than 200 employees responsible for around two fifths of our national income;

Employing 80 per cent of the total workforce;

And creating nearly half of all private sector turnover in the UK,

You are indispensable to the creation of jobs and of wealth.

I will do my part to champion businesses in Parliament,

Supporting the Government’s cut to business rates and corporation tax,

And our determination to regulate more efficiently.

But more needs to be done to cut red tape and ensure small businesses can export more easily.

I will also work to ensure that local enterprises have access to the funding and resources they need.

 

[Conclusion]

I support small businesses because they embody freedom and independence,

Individual responsibility;

And the principles of Meritocracy.

In small businesses, you have a real stake in its success,

And the rewards gained are directly related to the effort that is invested.

Wider society has a lot to learn from small businesses.

So I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of you,

As well as offer my congratulations to those nominated:

For supporting our robust local economy,

For providing jobs for the next generation,

And for making Sevenoaks the best place for families anywhere in the country.

Thank you.

Michael Speaks at the Sevenoaks Business Awards

29007780324_23fb087b91_oOn Friday, Michael addressed the annual Sevenoaks Business Awards.  As Patron of the Sevenoaks Town Partnership, which organised the evening, Michael spoke about the achievements of local businesses and the support offered by the Government:

29523238152_1b02dca396_oThank you.

I was speaking in Paris earlier this week when, about halfway through, the lights went out.

I was assured that it was completely unintentional, but perhaps I was on thin ice after referring to our position on the Olympic medal table…

I certainly hope it won’t happen tonight.

It is an honour to be here once again as Patron of Sevenoaks Town Partnership.

I am delighted to see that there have been so many nominations for the awards this evening.

And I am proud to be able to support the Town Partnership.

Every year, its remarkable programme of events and support somehow expands.

From the Vintage Bus promoting tourism, to the monthly Farmers Market making the most of our local produce, the Partnership’s efforts have helped to make Sevenoaks more bustling and attractive than ever before.

But its excellent work builds on an already excellent foundation of local businesses.

In April, I had the pleasure of opening the fifth annual Business Show.

With over thirty businesses attending, it was a clear demonstration of the strength of our vibrant local economy.

I am very pleased to see that in evidence here again tonight.

And it’s vital – Sevenoaks is not only a commuter town.

It is full of thriving, innovative businesses providing local employment – like yours.

Many of you are part of the 99 percent of businesses in Britain that are small- or medium-sized.

But I also recently welcomed a much larger company, FM Conway, to our town.

They may be a very different business to many of yours, but their decision to relocate here shows how successful our local economy has become.

The number of people without a job here has fallen to its lowest ever recorded level.

And we now have the highest number of businesses on record, 600 more than there were six years ago.

That’s the equivalent of a new business being set up every three days.

As your MP I am proud to be supporting measures to maintain this impressive record.

From April, we are cutting business rates.

600,000 businesses occupying a third of all properties will pay no rates at all.

We want to see three million apprenticeships across the country by 2020.

So many local businesses are helping to create these vital opportunities and I am pleased to see that there is strong competition for the apprentice award tonight – clear evidence of the young talent that is coming through our local workforce.

Corporation tax will also continue to fall, giving you more money to invest in your businesses.

There are challenges ahead.

I know some of you may be concerned.

I won’t pretend that the next few years will be easy.

But Sevenoaks is well prepared.

And with new measures to support the economy, the ingenuity of our businesses, and the ceaseless support of the Town Partnership, I am sure our local economy will continue to thrive.

I would like to congratulate tonight’s nominees and winners on their much-deserved achievements and wish you all the very best of luck for the coming year.

Thank you.

Michael Opens New FM Conway Office

Michael with chief executive officer Michael Conway.
Michael with chief executive officer Michael Conway.

Michael recently opened the new head office of major construction firm FM Conway.

Michael delivering his speech.
Michael delivering his speech.

Conway, which was founded in 1961, has moved its operations and 250 staff to Sevenoaks from Dartford.  The company works across the South East, including Olympic and Diamond Jubilee Projects as well as the Barclays’ Cycle Superhighway in London.  The new office is the result of a complete refurbishment, with state-of-the-art office facilities and a fresh exterior.

In his speech, Michael welcomed the company and its staff to Sevenoaks.  He announced that unemployment in his constituency has fallen to its lowest ever recorded level and said that he was proud that jobs like those provided by Conway mean that Sevenoaks is a bustling and vibrant centre of employment.

Michael Speaks at the Chamber of Commerce Summer Reception

Chamber Reception_14-7-16_082
Credit: Russell Harper

On Thursday, Michael addressed the annual Sevenoaks Chamber of Commerce summer reception.  As Patron of the Chamber, Michael spoke about the impact of the EU referendum result for small businesses and the important role of the Chamber in the local economy:

Thank you Colonel.

It’s a pleasure to join you all tonight in this, the busiest week in politics since last week.

Every MP will tell you that they represent the best constituency in the country.

But clearly they’ve never been to Sevenoaks.

All of you here tonight, coupled with these beautiful surroundings, make that clearer than ever.

I always like to remind people that it is small and medium-sized businesses like some of those represented here tonight which make up 99 percent of the total in Britain.

In Sevenoaks, there are now 600 more businesses than there were six years ago.

Employing more people, producing more goods, selling more services.

That’s the equivalent of a new business being set up every three days.

Chamber Reception_14-7-16_047
Credit: Russell Harper

So despite that success, or perhaps because of it, I know some of you are concerned about the result of the referendum on our EU membership and our current economic instability.

I would like to reassure you that our new Government, led by a new Prime Minister, is already working hard to restore the confidence and certainty that we need.

We are well prepared for the period of adjustment that lies ahead.

We will do whatever it takes to protect our economy.speech

We will forge new arrangements and trade deals.

We will make it work.

As we leave the EU, there will be lots of changes.

It will not be easy to negotiate a deal with the EU that controls immigration and recovers sovereignty while protecting our hard won economic growth.

But what will not change is the ingenuity, commitment and hard work of businesses like yours all around the country, but most of all here in Sevenoaks.

That’s always been valuable and I think its value will become even clearer in the coming years.

But the importance of your contribution demonstrates why the work of our Chamber of Commerce is so important.

I am always impressed by the range of the services and events that are on offer.

I am reliably informed that the new networking meetings are proving to be successful, as well as your recent charity golf day, your newsletter and the Curry Club.

It is with opportunities like these that our local economy can go from strength to strength.  I encourage you all to make full use of them.

Finally, I would like congratulate the Chamber of Commerce on its achievements over the past year, and wish you all the very best of luck.

It’s now a pleasure to introduce Marc Vernet, headline sponsor of tonight’s event and owner of that stalwart of Sevenoaks for the past 25 years, Amherst Accountancy.

Thank you.