As the next step in his campaign to improve the availability of finance – and day-to-day cashflow – for small local businesses, Rory is arranging a cross-party meeting in Penrith later this month to discuss the potential for a Business Boost Scheme that will encourage larger local businesses to invest in smaller enterprises and start-ups, investing into the local community and economy.

The seminar on Friday March 14th aims to bring together representatives of the County Council, the Local Enterprise Partnership, local businesses, the financial services sector and the charity sector, to discuss the current environment for small business finance and some potential approaches for the future. Rory will present an outline of the work undertaken to date, including further details of the proposed Cumbria Business Boost scheme, with the aim of initiating what will hopefully be a wide-ranging discussion of the topic. The seminar is intended to provide a starting point for a broader local consultation on small business finance, to which both local borrowers and local investors will be encouraged to contribute.

Rory said : “Boosting cash-flow, and access to finance, is an issue consistently raised with me by the small and medium sized enterprises that characterise the economy of north Cumbria. I am very pleased to take this next step in our efforts to encourage a genuine focus on the difficult financial situation still faced by many businesses, with an innovative local peer-to-business lending model that would be flexible, intuitive and genuinely local. I am hopeful that by initiating a wide-ranging and non-partisan discussion there will be scope for a pooling of experience and for progress towards some practical and achievable outcomes. It is very encouraging to be seeing initial support for these ideas from across the spectrum.”

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