As I have said before in this column, my job is to be there to help local people when they need me.
Last week, Didsbury’s Russ Clifton got some good news. His company, Ruk-Bug, got a £250,000 loan from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to develop its first product, Migration. This loan is being matched by the banks
This means they will be creating 40 new jobs across South Manchester.
This is great news for the local economy and reflects a wider trend of local unemployment dropping. It is now at a lower level than at the General Election in 2010.
The Ruk-Bug is a lightweight pram designed for functionality and safety which can be easily carried as a rucksack, keeping parents hands free. You can read more about the company at www.ruk-bug.com
Russ spent three years developing the Ruk-Bug and another two years seeking funding to launch the product.
In this time Russ faced numerous challenges and blockages to getting funding for his company as banks were extremely reluctant to invest in business following the financial crash of 2008.
I was happy to be at the end of the phone to support Russ when he needed it through the bidding process.
I met with Vince Cable to discuss Ruk-Bug and ask him to make the bidding process more user-friendly in the future.
Ruk-Bug is an example of the £3.2bn Regional Growth Fund working to support small and medium-sized businesses. Almost half a million jobs have been created as a direct result of the Fund
Since 2010 the Liberal Democrats have helped the private sector to create 1.4 million new jobs in the UK and we aim to create 1 million more by 2015.
We have also delivered locally on apprenticeships. Last year, apprenticeships in Manchester went up from 2580 to 4760, an 84% rise. In Withington Constituency, the figures went to from 350 to 630, an 80% rise.
There are 86% more apprenticeships now than when Labour left office.
Of course, big projects like HS2 will help create Manchester’s Growth in the future. 60,000 new jobs. But local entrepreneurs such as Russ are just as essential for this country’s recovery and I make no apologies for fighting their corner in government.