BUSINESSES in Grays have welcomed the “Stand up for Grays” campaign launched by Polly Billington, Labour’s candidate to be Thurrock’s next MP, and have given their support to putting forward a more positive image of Grays.
It follows the UKIP parliamentary candidate Tim Aker, who is seeking to be a councillor in Aveley and MP for Thurrock in addition to his role as an MEP for the whole of the East of England, claiming people should shop in Upminster because they are “too frightened” to shop in Grays.
Polly Billington said:
"It was great to talk to so many business owners who are making a success of Grays Town centre, and good to hear so many ideas about how to improve it. I live in Grays and shop here all the time so I am aware of the challenges businesses in Grays have to contend with, without a politician suggesting people should go shop elsewhere.
“We know things can be better for businesses and for customers, which is why I have been talking to the police about how to combat anti-social behaviour in the town centre and have been bringing businesses together to discuss local regeneration. I have been working with the community to find a solution for the future of the State Cinema.
“Tim Aker continues to do down Grays, and is making no effort to improve it. It is staggering for someone who says he wants to represent Thurrock in Westminster to undermine local businesses in this way.
“We have a lot to do, but together, Standing up for Grays, we can make the town centre we can all be proud of.”
Keith Evans, Manager of Grays Shopping Centre said:
“Grays is definitely on the up. The arrival of South Essex College has seen an influx of students & shoppers which is giving the town centre a real buzz. Whilst we’re aware that there are still some issues with parking, street lighting and anti-social behaviour, standing up for Grays is a really positive initiative that aims to solve the actual problem rather than simply acknowledging that they exist.”
Jane Pothecary, Labour’s candidate for Grays Riverside ward, which covers the town centre added:
“The last thing Grays needs is a politician doing the place down. I work and shop in Grays, in my lunch hour as well as at the weekend. Businesses need the support of their community leaders, not their disdain.
That’s why so many businesses are keen to to back the Standing up for Grays campaign. Instead it seems UKIP just want to do what they always do: frighten people into voting for them, rather than stand up for local businesses and jobs.”