OPINION

Why backing local firms is plain common sense

Posted On 19 Jan 2020 at 11:45 am

Is local business important? It should be to all of us who are looking to be employed locally and who want to keep our local businesses thriving in our city.

My concern is there seems to be a trend under the Labour-run administration of Brighton and Hove City Council to outsource many services to companies outside the city – and outside the UK.

We have seen the failure of home to school transport which instead of saving money seems to be heading for an £800,000 overspend. Still the scheme is failing, overseen by a business from Cheshire.

The latest stock condition survey of all council-owed housing will be carried out by a company based in West Yorkshire.

The acclaimed bike hire scheme buys the bikes from China, with spares and parts for maintenance and servicing also imported from abroad.

These are just three examples but there are more. Whenever possible, I believe that we should work with local businesses – those from within Brighton and Hove and the wider local area.

We need to show we are a city of business and that means working harder to support local employers.

We know that we failed to attract Channel 4 when they were looking to relocate, although Brighton and Hove was high on their list of possible locations.

Sadly, although they admitted that we were an ideal place, we couldn’t provide for all their needs so they chose Leeds instead.

Labour talks about the same approach. They call it “the Preston model”. They talk about the circular economy too, backing local firms, supporting local growth and cutting our carbon footprint in the process. If only they would walk the walk instead of just talking the talk.

I have full confidence in our local businesses and employers and have always believed that, as a council spending local taxpayers’ money, we should preferably spend this money with local firms.

If our local businesses are a success then we will see local growth increase which will not only boost our public finances but support more jobs in the city.

This will in turn send out a message to other large employers that we are a city of business and encourage them to relocate here and improve the lives of us all.

Councillor Steve Bell is the leader of the opposition Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council.

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