Friday, January 16, 2009

MP hears despair... and hope at Newbury Business Group breakfast

The pain of the recession was heard loud and clear when the MP for Newbury, Richard Benyon, met with members and guests at the Newbury Business Group on Friday morning; he also saw the passion and drive that illustrates why these business owners and entrepreneurs will survive.

There was a record turnout at the Newbury Business Group on Friday as members and guests gathered over breakfast at Donnington Valley Golf Club to hear from the local MP, who made it clear he understood the impact of the slowdown, but also sought to put it into perspective.

He railed against the tick box culture of credit qualification and lamented the loss of local business bank managers who understood the local economy and the needs of local business. He also took the opportunity to explain how much more comprehensive the stimulus package supported by the Conservatives was, in contrast to that being pushed through by the Government.

Soon the tables were turned and topics raised with the MP ranged from the stifled cashflow within the credit market, and the knock on that is having for businesses, through to angry recriminations against the Government – at one point the MP had to point out he was a member of the Opposition!

There were suggestions too – Carol Brown, a mortgage broker from Your First Mortgage Co. suggested that as the Government was making so little money from house sales, couldn’t stamp duty be stopped or at least reduced to stimulate the property market. It was something My Benyon concurred with and said a stamp duty holiday could be a good idea.

There was frustration about the small reduction in VAT, which the MP said had wasted £50 billion that could have been better used.

Managing Director of business software developers Kaizen, Robin Winnett said education needed to be addressed so vocational qualifications had the same merits as academic subjects, called for more collaboration in business and in Parliament, while photographer Giles Penfound despaired at the lack of leadership in politics.

Newbury Business Group chairman, Nigel Morgan, of Hungerford-based public relations consultancy Morgan PR, closed the meeting, thanking Richard Benyon and concluded: “This has been a terrific meeting and I honestly believe the members of the Newbury Business Group are the owners and entrepreneurs who show the leadership that will get them through this recession and the collaboration that has long been a hallmark of the group will ensure they flourish. It is why we are the foremost networking group in West Berkshire.”

Speaking after the breakfast, Mr Benyon said: "This was a really useful session which allowed me to show how an alternative approach to business and the recession would work and for me to hear firsthand accounts of the experience for entrepreneurs and risk takers at this worrying time"

The Newbury Business Group meets for breakfast at 7.30am every Friday at the Donnington Valley Golf Club. Guests are welcome, but should book in advance by emailing

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