Cumbrian business leader attends No 10 for meetings with the Prime Minister

Maria Whitehead, co-owner and director of family business, Hawkshead Relish, and a number of other small business owners and entrepreneurs from a range of business sectors across the UK, including tech, retail and manufacturing, met with The Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom on Tuesday 10th September at No 10 Downing Street.

The parties met to discuss ways of helping small businesses to start and grow. During the meeting the Prime Minister outlined his desire to build a dynamic, vibrant culture for start-ups, small businesses and entrepreneurs in the UK, which would include bringing gigabit broadband speeds to everyone and creating a tax environment to stimulate growth.

Maria and her business colleagues outlined a number of ways in which help could be given to boost the growth and productivity of small enterprises, including effective ways of tackling late payments, providing export opportunities and improving the skills and education of young people starting out in business.

Tuesday 17th September, saw Maria return to No 10, to attend an evening business reception held by The Prime Minister, with Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid David and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and 50 fellow business leaders from across the UK.

Maria attended in her capacity as a representative of Be The Business, a group of like-minded business leaders from across the UK, who are committed to sharing ideas and learning to address the productivity and underperformance of UK businesses.

The group established in 2017, has already established a national family business mentoring programme is partnering with businesses, schools and industries to make executive education more accessible and is uniting localised business communities to share knowledge and to learn from each other.

During the reception the assembled parties discussed a number of business concerns including potential issues relating to trade tariffs, supply chain, infrastructure and downturn in export due to current uncertainties and options for business growth in existing and new export markets. When asked about Brexit by those present, the Prime Minister outlined that he was determined to back business and support growth for the future. The ministers also mingled with the assembled business leaders and expressed their aims and ambitions for the future of UK business.

Talking about both of her visits to No 10 to meet with the Prime Minister and senior Government Ministers, Maria Whitehead MBE, co-owner of Hawkshead Relish, said: “There seems to be a real determination in government to make the UK home to the most ambitious businesses in the world. That said it is essential that they listen to businesses of all sizes. On both occasions Ministers expressed their desire to address ways of increasing revenue, reducing costs, acquiring new customers and entering new markets – things that UK businesses of all sizes are concerned with. Obviously there is considerable uncertainty at the moment and with that in mind I’m extremely proud to have had the chance to represent Cumbria, and in particular the food and drink sector at these high level meetings and to have had the opportunity to put across the problems and very real concerns of businesses in the rural North West.’’

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