SOUTHSEA businesses were given a ringing endorsement by a government minister.
Policy minister Oliver Letwin, who is helping to write the Conservative manifesto for the general election, took a tour of firms in Marmion Road and Osborne Road to hear how things were going and what issues they had.
Mr Letwin stopped by at CP Fastenings & Supplies, Nesbits Estate Agents, Churchills and Shape hairdressing salon.
He also stopped at the Southsea Coffee Company to chat to workers before leaving.
He was joined by Flick Drummond, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South, who arranged his visit.
Mr Letwin said he felt encouraged by the response he received and believes companies are ‘flourishing’ despite having gone through tough times.
‘There was one business (Churchills) which told me about problems with parking locally, but the businesses in the area seem to be flourishing, with the general raise in the economy,’ he said.
‘Another business (CP Fastenings) has managed to maintain a steady flow of business through the recession.
‘That’s because it is more personal and has established a relationship with the customers.’
Mr Letwin said as part of his duties he is trying to ensure more cash is given to local businesses such as ones in Portsmouth, and praised the benefits of the regional growth fund.
He also highlighted the importance of The News’ campaigns celebrating local businesses and high streets.
‘If the high street has a range of small businesses, you don’t just get the straightforward economic effect of more jobs and prosperity,’ he said.
‘You also get a social benefit, and you can’t replicate that through internet or supermarket shopping.’
Mr Letwin pledged the Tory manifesto would help to ensure people are better off.
It comes after prime minister David Cameron revealed during a visit to Bursledon the party’s key aims is to raise the wage people must start paying income tax to £12,500, provide tax-free childcare and make sure people who can afford to pay taxes keep paying.
He also said there would be a further £30bn worth of ‘readjustment’ over the next two years, with £13bn being taken out of the welfare system.
A further £13bn will come out of department spending and billions found from tax dodgers.