The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP Great Bow Wharf Visit

One year on from the severe flooding that left much of the Somerset Levels underwater, the Business Secretary Vince Cable visited small businesses that were so badly affected in the area. The Business Secretary attended a round table discussion with representatives from 20 local businesses in order to understand firsthand the problems still facing local Somerset businesses. This meeting was held at the social enterprise centre of Great Bow Wharf, situated in Langport, which was magnificently adorned with two spiral conifers kindly donated by local garden centre Kelways Plants Ltd, Langport.

Accompanying The Secretary of State Vince Cable on his tour of the Somerset levels were the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman John Allan, and the Somerset regional FSB Chairman Patricia Marks, from Ashcott, Bridgwater.

During the tour, Secretary of State Vince Cable visited Shakespeare Glass, situated on the Westover Trading Estate near the River Parrett, Langport, which was a business badly affected by the floods last year. The Business Minister observed a glass blowing demonstration before talking with Shakespeare Glass’s co-owner, Will Shakespeare.

Dr Cable gave assurances that the Flood Re scheme, which aims to provide insurance for people living and working in flood-prone areas, would be operational by the summer.

The Business Minister said: “The legislation for the Flood Re Scheme has all gone through – it will begin by July”.

Dr Cable added: “While we cannot control the weather, we have set out a £2.3bn long-term investment in flood defences and made over £1m available to support flood-hit businesses in Somerset. These small businesses are vital for a growing and balanced economy, and creating jobs for local communities – it is only right that we do all we can to support them”

The Secretary of State then travelled to Martock to visit the Somerset Cider Brandy Company. The company itself is based on a farm that has been pressing cider apples for 150 years, and distilling it to make Somerset Cider Brandy since 1989. Somerset Cider Brandy has Protected Geographical Indication status, which protects the company from imitation throughout the European Union, as well as guaranteeing its authenticity and origin to the Somerset Levels.

Finally, The Minister visited Yeovil Town Football Club, where he gave a speech to members of the Somerset and Wiltshire Branch of the FSB regarding the Hinckley Nuclear Project supply chain, and also the support available for small businesses through the Plymouth & South West Peninsula City deal.

John Allen, FSB National Chairman, said: “Last year was the wettest winter on record, and many small UK businesses suffered due to both the direct and indirect consequences of the flooding.

Having the Business Minister come and visit small businesses to see how they have coped is very pleasing. Dr Cable has been made aware of the challenges still facing small businesses in Somerset and has been made to realise that these businesses require the full support of the government before, during and after these events”.

Patricia Marks, FSB Chairman of the Somerset and Wiltshire region, added: “The Business Secretary cannot fail to be impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit of Somerset businesses, as well as the willingness to diversify and maximise the bounty of the county to stimulate the local economy as a whole”.

Posted on February 22nd 2015

Loading... Updating page...