Councillor calls for help for local businesses

Extract of councillor Martin Healy’s speech on business in Thurrock in 2010.

“Thank you Madame Mayor for the opportunity to bring the issue of Regeneration and local business to the chamber.

The bad news from the spending review will blight whole communities up and down the country and of course it will affect some of our own deprived communities very badly also. With the comprehensive spending review from the Government, its negative effect on the general economic situation, the competition for inwards investment in our borough just got a lot harder.

Thurrock, however does have prospects. We have London Gateway, Lakeside basin, Royal Opera House and other regeneration projects to look forward to.

That’s why it has surprised me on my return to the Council that the authority is very inward looking and the subjects of debate at our monthly meeting at Full Council seem to be about irritating and selfish neighbourhood anti social behaviour and/or short comings in public service delivery but never any intense debates about the exciting regeneration projects we have in Thurrock and how local people and local business can benefit.

I am not saying for one minute that public service delivery or anti social behaviour is unimportant but let’s get to basic Commerce and Regeneration and what can be done to assist the many thousands of people in Thurrock who are either on Council housing waiting lists, waiting for a transfer or those of our fellow constituents signing on who cannot find gainful employment.

Two things in particular we need to get right on Regeneration in this authority:

As someone who in the past few years, has been at business meetings and network events in Thurrock, I rarely if ever came across representatives for Thurrock Council. How’s that for feedback on our much lauded community engagement. Going back to one of my first points, this authority must be more outward looking. Leave those strategy documents down for a moment and meet the people who can make it happen.

Secondly, the Small business community in Thurrock is a key stakeholder and they deserve our advocacy. Indeed, on the previous administration watch, this authority removed the local small business initiative yielding £33m of business and throttled the life out of many of our local companies. Some say it’s the move to the strategic partnership with Vertex what did it, I am not convinced. Regardless, this administration must do all it can to reinstate the local business initiative and get our local businesses in Thurrock involved in the Regeneration projects purchase supply chain again and we will not be satisfied if officers in this authority continue to ignore local firms and engage National companies for all our procurement needs.

Thank you Madame Mayor for your time. Let’s get enterprise and regeneration very much back on the agenda at this council”.

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