Over the last two years I’ve visited any number of small businesses across North West Hants. In fact, everywhere I look, in barns, high streets, industrial parks and front rooms, there are small business owners beavering away creating jobs and wealth. I started my own business 22 years ago and I still own it to this day. I’m very proud that with my team I’ve created jobs but it wasn’t easy. I remember with a shiver the early years of sleepless nights and endless worry about cash flow, the bad debtors who just wouldn’t pay what they owed, and the huge competitors trying to stamp us out of the market. When I was first elected in 2015, I made standing up for small business one of my campaign themes, and I did so again this time. In all my 22 years in business, I have rarely felt the government was trying to make my life easier and help me grow my company. I want that to change and I know the Prime Minister does too.

The Conservative manifesto contained a section on small business that promised to cut red tape and taxes and make it easier for SME’s to raise capital, recover debts and get government contracts – all of which is very welcome indeed. As some of you may know, I was in the forefront of trying to convince the government that the quarterly tax returns project was poorly thought out and needed to change, and I have made numerous speeches about the dynamism of capital and how we can make it easier for people to raise the money they need to get going.

I also want to play my part in attracting more high value science and technology based businesses to the constituency. We have very high employment levels here in NW Hants – unemployment is less than 1% – but in some areas, wage levels are too low and encouraging higher skill businesses to locate here is part of the solution to that issue. Earlier this year I held a small business summit with some of the really exciting entrepreneurs I have discovered in the constituency and I will continue to draw them together so that I can shout about their achievements, and try to deliver the kind of economy, rules and regulations they need to thrive.