Swindon visit by Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

By Barrie Hudson - 5 April 2024

  • From left: Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones MP, Mr Golam Choudhury, owner of Grand Bazaar in Cricklade Road, and Cllr Will Stone, Labour's North Swindon Parliamentary Candidate

    From left: Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones MP, Mr Golam Choudhury, owner of Grand Bazaar in Cricklade Road, and Cllr Will Stone, Labour's North Swindon Parliamentary Candidate

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones today - 5 April - visited Gorse Hill.

Along with Cllr Will Stone, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for North Swindon, he toured Grand Bazaar in Cricklade Road.
Owner Golam Choudhury showed the two around, and also highlighted his current concerns as owner of a small business.
These included rising food prices and the difficulty of recruiting sufficient staff.
Mr Choudhury said: "It is good for local people to see these sort of people in Swindon.
"As a local business owner I want some people who can come together to boost the economy - and I hope they will."
Cllr Stone said: ""It's important to get out and chat to the Small and Medium Enterprises and businesses so we know what they want.
"A lot of times politicians say things, but it's important to hear on the ground what will make a difference."
Cllr Stone highlighted a number of his party's policies such as scrapping and reforming business rates and making it easier for people to secure employment, and added: "As for the rising food costs, if we start to get a growing economy, better trade deals with Europe and stuff like that, there is a lot that can be done to help people."

The candidate said policies such as giving councils more money and recruiting more police officers would help to make high streets more attractive to customers.
Following the tour Mr Jones said: "The thing that I thought was really interesting today was that big chain supermarkets have been closing on this high street, but Mr Choudhury's shop has expanded and is clearly quite buzzy inside.
"We need more shops like Mr Choudhury's to be able to do what he's doing on high streets across the country, because if even the big national chains are saying they can't afford to keep their shops open on high streets like this, we're in deep trouble."
"We know that high streets are struggling across the country, and high streets are a really important part of local communities, as Will knows from talking to local residents and being a councillor.
"When we talk about getting the economy back on track nationally, one of the things we think about is how do we revive high streets and allow small business owners to be able to keep their businesses open and to start new businesses. That's why we talk about things like business rates reform to make it easier for independent shops to remain open on the high street; it's why we talk about improving the laws around late payments, so if you're waiting for a supplier to pay the bill, that needs to be done on time.
"But also, fundamentally, we want customers to have more money in their pockets and be more confident spending it in their local shop, so one of our key messages today is that under the Conservatives you've kind of got this double tax whammy right now, where people are paying more in tax than they were before because of frozen thresholds, and the Westminster decision to push more tax onto councils as opposed to sorting it out in London, means that everyone's going to be experiencing higher than expected council tax rises.
"That's not the fault of council leaders, it's because of decisions in the Treasury and Westminster. That means the average family will be around £900 a year worse off by the end of the next Parliament. Clearly, that's the wrong direction of travel, and we want to get the economy back on track to avoid that."
Asked what changes small businesses could expect should a Labour Government be elected, Mr Jones said: "The first thing to say is that we have to turn the page on the last 14 years of the Conservatives.
"Everyone, whether you're a business owner or a customer right now, is feeling pretty bleak about the country and the direction of travel we're heading in.
"That will change because if we're elected later this year, we'll have set out our missions for the country and our plans for a decade of national renewal.
"That will involve getting inflation back to target, which is a key driver. The reason it went up so much in the first place was because of the chaos of the Conservative Party. We can't go back to having more of that.
"People will feel more stable, they'll feel more optimistic, and with time they're going to feel like they've for more pounds in their pockets, so they can feel like their family finances are also back on track alongside the rest of the economy."

Your Comments

Be the first to comment on this article

Login or Register to post a comment on this article

Subscribe to The Link

Registered in England & Wales. No: 4513027, Positive Media Group, Old Bank House, 5 Devizes Road, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4BJ