I was appalled that Barclays Bank had cancelled their agreement allowing customers to withdraw cash from Post Office branches. This would have only added to the cash crisis seeing many older and vulnerable residents struggling to access their own money. I wrote to the CEO of Barclays to ask him to urgently reconsider and I was very pleased to see that the decision was reversed last night. It is always reassuring when large businesses like Barclays are willing to engage and listen to the opinions of local communities.

Secondary legislation has been ramping up again lately. A couple of weeks ago, I spoke in committee in support of increasing the borrowing limit for local authorities from the Public Works Loan Board. Shockingly, the Treasury then without warning increased the interest rate on those loans by 1% the following week with no consultation. I’m investigating this matter and have asked the Chancellor to explain this potentially damaging decision which comes at a terrible time for local authorities. We’ve also been holding the government to account on their no deal preparations, and I challenged the Minister in committee yesterday to guarantee that there would not be financial services deregulation after our exit.

This week I also hosted and spoke at a parliamentary reception celebrating government-backed start-up loans, for the second year running. It is so important that we allow small businesses to take off- particularly for areas like ours with perhaps fewer big businesses based here that we would like. Everyone should be given the chance to turn their business piped dreams to reality with state support and without being ripped off by unfair terms.

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