rory_thehutThe economic profile of Penrith and The Border is unique. It has very low unemployment (with many people holding down multiple jobs) and more self-employed people than almost any other constituency in Britain. Approximately 23 per cent of the population work from home, and 93 per cent work for businesses employing less than ten. A large proportion of my time is spent working with and understanding these small and medium-sized enterprises; understanding where government can do more to help, and where it needs to step back.

I am concerned about the way in which out-of-town supermarkets are affecting our traditional high streets, the difficulty many businesses are still having getting access to loans and funding, and what I see as the dangers of trying to artificially pump prime into industries and economies which simply do not exist in most parts of Cumbria.

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real-life entrepreneurs

Rory  met and chatted with almost twenty small businesses from his constituency last Friday at an event organised by the Federation of Small Businesses, and pledged his support for small businesses by signing up to the FSB’s new campaign championing ‘Real-Life Entrepreneurs’. Businesses attending included Love Solar, Dodd and Co accountants, Maureen Whitemore Interior Design, Ling […]


The British High Street

  Some policies seem destined to fail. Governments have tried to save our High Streets for decades. They have experimented with parking, and with rates, and with planning regulations. And the result has been catastrophe. We have gone from 43,000 butchers in 1950 to 10,000 fifty years later; from 41,000 greengrocers to 10,000. The number […]


new european funding

Rory has welcomed the publishing of detailed proposals about the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-20, saying that “Cumbrians must be encouraged to keep abreast of the fund in order to maximise benefits to Cumbria”. Rory has pledged to do all he can to encourage Cumbrians to be more aware […]


Funding for cumbrians working in international development

Rory has committed to bring funding from the new Government’s new Global Poverty Action FUND (GPAF) to support charitable organisations in Penrith and the Border. The new fund, launched by Secretary of State for International Development, The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, is designed to help smaller charities access funding from DFID in order to […]


national pub campaign “follows cumbrian lead”

Rory has voiced his enthusiastic support to a Government review that will boost the number of local pubs nationally. Rory welcomed the announcement last week that, as part of its commitment to the Great British pub, the Government has launched a review of restrictive covenants, a legal clause that can be used to prevent community […]


innovia, wigton

In a Parliamentary debate on packaging, Rory called on Ministers to recognise the positive contribution of companies such as Innovia of Wigton in the field of apprenticeships and community engagement. Rory said: “We must recognise that the packaging industry is not just important as an industry in itself, but provides a lot of model companies […]


innovia and wigton

  When I ran last week from parliamentary meetings about the Cumbrian sewage system; to the Olympics; the Forestry Commission; army reforms; and rural planning guidelines, I found myself struggling to keep up with it all. Learning about new policy areas can be bewildering and dispiriting. Officials scatter jargon: yesterday, SME didn’t mean Small and […]