06/12/18: Business Brexit Pragmatism

Building upon my support for our High Street businesses in my previous column, I continue the theme following 'Small Business Saturday' last weekend. The initiative is a great platform for public recognition of the contribution small businesses make to our economy, employment and society.

We have a magnificent array in this diverse rural and urban constituency; from the manufacturers and distributors on Pattenden Lane in Marden, to our fruit growing and packaging industry across the Low Weald, and to the creative and professional firms in Maidstone Town.

Small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2017 and 99.9% were small or medium-sized, providing 60% of all private sector employment in the UK.

Unarguably small businesses provide livelihoods for families across our country and contribute significantly to our national coffers through taxes and rates, funding our schools and hospitals. Their fortunes should really matter to all of us and I remember with fondness my many years as a business owner and an employer before becoming the Member for Maidstone & The Weald.

I am therefore pleased that the Government is recognising the needs of small businesses by cutting corporation tax, reforming business rates and investing in much needed research and development. I recently met with a range of local employers at a Barclays business breakfast who all welcomed these measures and I was also struck by their overwhelmingly pragmatic approach to Brexit; ready to make a success of it and trying to plan for all eventualities in the face of persistent uncertainty.

The outcome of Brexit is particularly crucial here in Kent, a frontier county where so many rely on the continuity of cross-channel co-operation. After two and a half years of negotiation we will soon have a better idea of our direction of travel and, whatever that is, the uncertainty will diminish and long-term planning can commence.


Helen's column is published weekly in the Kent Messenger. Please note the print version may differ from the content here.

Local MP Recognised as First Grassroots Football Champion


Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald and the former Sports Minister met with the Kent FA today, visiting the Stones' Gallagher Stadium to watch their FA Cup First Round match against Macclesfield Town and to pick up an award in recognition of her commitment to grassroots football.

Helen met with Phil Smith, Chairman of the Kent FA to learn more about how FA and Kent FA investments are widening grassroots participation, improving facilities and supporting player development in her constituency.

National League Maidstone played Macclesfield Town who are currently propping up League Two in the First Round of the FA Cup, the oldest cup competition in the world. At half time Phil presented Helen with a Grassroots Champion award to recognise her support for the game in her local community, becoming the first MP to receive the honour.

Helen was particularly pleased to see the team in action on the outstanding, state of the art 3G pitch at the Gallagher Stadium. Helen played a part in 2014, as UK Sports Minister, in persuading the FA to certify the pitch for use in the FA Cup and the then Football Conference. The resilient nature of the playing surface is central to the club's ability to deliver such a range of grassroots football programmes at the ground.

Helen Grant MP said:

"Grassroots sport is so important to local communities, providing benefits to physical and mental health as well as bringing people together. That is why I was delighted to visit Maidstone United today. It was great to meet some of the staff and volunteers at the club and the Kent FA who make grassroots football possible in Maidstone and the Weald and to see the state of the art 3G facility in action."

Phil Smith, Chairman of Kent FA said:

"Our congratulations to Helen. It is really important that football has MPs standing up for the grassroots game in Parliament and I am proud we have one here in Maidstone in Helen Grant. We are working hard to cater for over 62,500 players of all ages and 15,000 volunteers across Kent and we need as much support as possible to continue growing the game for the benefit of all."

01 DEC 2018

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MP seeks share of £300m money for step free station access

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Helen's column

06 DEC 2018

Business Brexit Pragmatism

Building upon my support for our High Street businesses in my previous column, I continue the theme following 'Small Business Saturday' last weekend. The initiative is a great platform for public...

29 NOV 2018

Christmas on the High Street

Ever since I was a little girl growing up in Carlisle I remember the magic of Christmas emerging from its annual hibernation. Always starting in the town centre, shop windows came alive like West End...

22 NOV 2018

EU Withdrawal Agreement

One thing I have learnt from the hundreds of negotiations I have conducted in my life, be they as a lawyer, a business woman or as a politician, is that the pressure always increases as the deadline...