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Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna unveils three point plan to boost Southampton's economy
Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna will be campaigning for more apprenticeships for youngsters in the city and said his party will put added pressure on banks to provide firms with the finances they need in order to grow.
The Labour Party also wants to enforce a National Insurance break for small businesses with a workforce of fewer than ten employees, to make it easier for them to hire new staff.
Speaking at a Labour business lunch hosted by Southampton Itchen MP John Denham, Mr Umunna said: “There are a number of things that need to be addressed to provide a commercial environment in which businesses can thrive, prosper and expand.
“Access to finance, making sure people can borrow from the banks, is clearly one of them.
“People have complained about not being able to access the finance they need. That’s clearly something that needs to be addressed.
“If we are serious about meeting the economic challenges of tomorrow, we must have a properly skilled workforce,”
“We have done very well on academic qualifications. We have seen the numbers of people going on to higher education, to universities like the one I’ve visited in Southampton today, shoot up. But we need to do a lot more on the technical and vocational side, to ensure our young people have the engineering skills that businesses need.”
Mr Umunna revealed his plans to scores of business leaders from across Hampshire, before visiting Southampton Solent University for a question and answer session with students.
And he said he was impressed with what he had seen during his flying visit to Southampton.
“It’s been incredibly useful,” he said.
“There are some people doing some incredibly amazing things here. I know of one engineering firm in this region that received a £4,000 grant about four years ago, which is now a £1million turnover company, employing about 12 people. That’s an amazing feat and something we want to see repeated.”