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Shadow minister for small businesses visits traders in Park Royal and Willesden

PUBLISHED: 15:59 19 March 2013 | UPDATED: 15:59 19 March 2013

Toby Perkins MP, shadow minister for small business, visits shops on Willesden High Road

Toby Perkins MP, shadow minister for small business, visits shops on Willesden High Road

Jonathan Goldberg

Toby Perkins MP invited down by Stonebridge councillor Zaffar Van Kalwala

Politicians from across the capital were in the borough yesterday for a special event on the state of local businesses.

More than 60 local businesses and councillors from across London were joined by Toby Perkins, MP at the Park Royal industrial estate in Harlesden.

Mr Perkins (Lab), who is the shadow minister for small businesses, joined in a Question and Answer session chaired by Stonebridge councillor Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala..

Among the issues raised by businesses included better access to funding, public contracts and procurement opportunities and having more business mentors.

The Park Royal estate was recently rocked by the news that more than 500 businesses were to go due to the closure of the distribution centre at John Lewis.

Cllr Van Kalwala said: “It was fantastic to have Toby Perkins visit Brent to talk to local businesses.

“We need to put businesses at the heart of our future economic growth to create new jobs and opportunities for local residents.”

Cllr Van Kalwala and Mr Perkins then visited Willesden High Road where they spoke to local businesses and met with the chair of the Willesden Green Town Team, an organisation formed to improve and regenerate the area.

The visit comes on the back of the recent launch by Ed Milliband of Labour’s SME Taskforce report which recommended a new system of regional banks to support small business.

Cllr Van Kalwala added: “I will work to ensure Brent Council supports SMEs and our local entrepreneurs.”

Toby Perkins MP said: “It was fantastic to come to Park Royal to meet with local businesses. As one of the largest business parks in Europe it was the perfect setting to learn about what a variety of small businesses need to survive and thrive.

“One message that came through loud and clear was that we need to do more to help small businesses access finance. Ed Miliband’s announcement last week, that the next Labour government will introduce a series of regional banks with a public service remit, should go some way to overcoming this.”

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