Supporting Local Business

The last year or so has been a difficult time for businesses up and down the country. That’s why I’ve been keen to do whatever I can to support local enterprise.

Last week I dropped by Pistachios in the Park (the great little cafe at Manor House Gardens) to help entrepreneur, Asyin Djemil with his business expansion plans. Asyin, who set up Pistachios nine years ago, is looking to expand to other parks across London (and beyond!).

Having seen the difference the cafe makes to Manor House Gardens, I was only too pleased to record some footage for his promotional video.

Getting the economy back on track and securing the recovery is critical at the moment.

In Lewisham, under the leadership of Labour’s Mayor, Sir Steve Bullock, the council has put together a package of support to tackle the recession. This includes support for enterprise development organisations such as Head for Business, local apprenticeship schemes and an increased wage (the “London Living Wage”) for many council contractors.

Many of these local initiatives have been complemented by national programmes such as the Future Jobs Fund, which has given local people the chance to stay in touch with the job market, and mortgage support schemes, which have meant that repossessions are nowhere near the level that the Tories allowed in the last recession.

In Lewisham, we have also been keen to create the sort of environment in our town centres where shops and businesses want to locate, and where people want to spend time.

That’s why I’ve worked hard in the last few years on plans for Lewisham and Catford and have been trying to get the right sort of development coming forward in areas like Leegate and the Bromley Road.

In the current economic climate, this isn’t easy but I’m hoping our perseverance will bear fruit in the long term.



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