A number of members have mentioned the local economy as their no.1 concern, and have asked me about how I'd help in bringing money and jobs to Darlington, were I to be selected as candidate.
Well, firstly I got my masters in economics and I work an adviser to small business, so it's a subject which I've got some working knowledge of. Darlington also has a high proportion of businesses in the SME sector, which is the sector I work in, helping exactly these sorts of companies.
I'd like to see:
- Mentoring for small and startup businesses to reduce failure rates (something like over 70% of new businesses fold in their first two years);
- Better access to funding for companies in their startup stage, including the encouragement of venture capital, and not just bank loans;
- In the current economic climate, it's clear that there may be an opportunity to secure infrastructure projects for the region and the Darlington area which might not otherwise happen, as the government looks to stimulate the economy at a national level through such investments. We should take advantage of such opportunities.
I'd obviously also be wanting to continue providing support for existing large development projects, such as the Oval development, which will undoubtedly bring jobs and economic growth to the area.