Debate on rural businesses

High Peak MP Andrew Bingham speaking on rural businesses during an adjournment debate on Friday. Photo contributed.
High Peak MP Andrew Bingham speaking on rural businesses during an adjournment debate on Friday. Photo contributed.

The issues faced by rural businesses in the High Peak were highlighted in the House of Commons last week.

Slow broadband, transport issues and planning difficulties were among the problems discussed by High Peak MP Andrew Bingham during an adjournment debate he had secured on Friday.

He said: “Simple geography in rural areas can make hiring staff more challenging. Lack of affordable housing means that many young people cannot remain in the area where they grew up, which starves businesses of young employees to train in their own way.

“With limited and scarce public transport, those same young people who cannot drive or afford to run a car cannot access available work and employers cannot get the staff they need.”

He added that New Mills-based sweet manufacturer Swizzels Matlow wanted to expand but suitable premises were hard to find in rural areas.

“It would be so easy for companies such as Swizzels to move into urban areas. It is to be commended for its loyalty both to High Peak and to the people of New Mills, where it has been based for over 80 years and where it wishes to stay,” Mr Bingham said.

“Because of poor roads and increasing demand for travel, every day in my constituency thousands of commuting cars meet heavy lorries, creating severe traffic jams and pollution, particularly around the A57 and A628 trunk roads. They are ruining some stunning local landscapes and shaking parts of the village of Tintwistle to their foundations. These horrendous traffic problems will choke off the local economy if we do not address them.

“In summary, the rural economy relies on businesses and it can be diverse, dynamic and proactive. We are doing well in High Peak: we are punching well above our weight, despite all the challenges I have outlined today. Imagine what more we could achieve if we helped to address some of the difficulties I have highlighted.”

Business Minister Michael Fallon replied: “I assure my hon. Friend and the House that the Government are fully committed to supporting businesses across the country, especially those in rural areas, and making sure that we realise our ambition of making this country the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”