Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, is to carry out a ‘work experience placement’ at a Peterborough firm in order to learn about the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses.

Mr Jackson will visit APC Overnight on Challenger Way, Peterborough on Friday 16th September from 3pm.

Mr Jackson’s visit has been arranged as part of the Business Buddy scheme, which was recently launched by the not-for-profit Forum of Private Business.

Business Buddy aims to foster a greater understanding of small businesses among politicians by providing them with hands-on experience of day-to-day life at a firm in their constituency. 

Speaking ahead of the visit, Stewart Jackson said:

“Businesses are going through a tough patch at the moment and the key to their success is a realistic growth agenda and reducing needless regulations and bureaucracy generally and for politicians nationally and locally to understand the day to day challenges and pressures they face.

That’s why I’ll be buddying with a successful local company in APC Overnight to understand what makes them tick and what government at all levels needs to do make their lives easier so that they can expand and take on more staff.”

Mrs Debbie Swinscoe, the owner of APC Overnight, said:

‘I volunteered to take part in the Business Buddy Scheme because few MPs have experience of working in business and I think it’s important to let them know about the day-today issues that we face as business owners.

I find it difficult running a business with the red tape that small firms have to deal with. I have a particular interest in young people and employment and I think it’s hard for young people who aren’t academic and don’t want to go to university but don’t necessarily leave school with the right skills to work in business. I have two apprentices who I trained up myself and without that opportunity they would’ve found it very difficult to find jobs.

The Forum’s head of campaigns, Jane Bennett, said:

“It’s all well and good for lobby groups like the Forum to tell the Government about the issues facing small businesses, but there’s no substitute for first-hand experience.  We want politicians to see for themselves what it’s like to run a small business so that’s why we developed the Business Buddy scheme.

“We hope Mr Jackson and APC Overnight will find the visit useful and perhaps forge a lasting relationship so Mrs Debbie Swinscoe and keep Mr Jackson updated on local and small business-related issues as they develop.”

Small Business Minister Mark Prisk has given the scheme his backing and urged his fellow MPs to get involved. Mr Prisk said:

“I encourage all members of Parliament who share my passion for UK business to make the most of the opportunity offered by the Forum of Private Business’s Business Buddy scheme.

“My contact with small businesses tells me that you will not only benefit from gaining a real understanding of the challenges business owners face and overcome each and every day, but that you will find the experience to be hugely enjoyable.”

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