THE Shadow Business Secretary visited Chester to talk to small business owners. 

Chuka Ummuna, accompanied by Chris Matheson, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the City of Chester, visited the University of Chester to meet small and new business owners at the Riverside Innovation Centre. 

The businesses included Big Heritage, a social enterprise which helps communities discover their past, and Haylo Theatre, a theatre-in-education group whose current project deals with the difficult subject of dementia. 

The business owners present discussed the challenges they faced, including an inability to secure funding from high street banks, the costs of setting up an office and the problems of cash-flow and bills that new start-ups struggle with. 

Mr Ummuna said: “It was fantastic to get some first-hand accounts of what these businesses need in order to take the next step. 

“Labour will lower then freeze business rates, freeze energy bills to save a businesses an average of £400 a year, and set up a British Investment Bank which will be regionalised allowing small and growing businesses real access to finance which banks have failed to deliver during the last five years.” 

Mr Matheson said: “There is some real talent in Chester’s small business community with the ambition and work ethic to succeed.

“The University’s Riverside Innovation Centre is a fantastic facility. 

“Today Chuka provided the missing piece to the jigsaw, which is Labour's plans for real government support for small businesses, to help start-ups and small or medium-sized firms to grow and drive our economy forward.” 

Nick Hilton, co-founder of SnapStudies, a company which provides support for a variety of learning styles for school-age children via an interactive website, said: “The visit allowed us to meet and connect with a people who will be Members of Parliament. “We felt like our opinion matters and that the efforts we are putting in are being appreciated. If more people got the opportunity to meet MP's in a similar way they would feel less disconnected from politics. 

“Their efforts were truly appreciated.”