Two of the UK’s most prominent Members of Parliament came together to take part in special MPs Question Time styled event organised by the Wirral Chamber of Commerce.
Esther McVey, Conservative MP for Wirral West and Minister for Employment, met with Angela Eagle, Labour MP for Wallasey and Shadow Leader of the House, were joined by Paula Basnett, CEO of Wirral Chamber, and the Question Time Chair for the day, Alastair Gould of McEwan Wallace at the Holiday Inn Express, Hoylake for the very special business event.
In a lively question and answer forum both MPs discussed and debated a diverse series of questions on important policy and economic issues raised from the delegates which comprised over sixty businesses and organisations from the membership of the Wirral Chamber.
The topics ranged from the potential impact of the High Speed Rail Link, Business Continuity, economic benefits of a regional collaboration between Liverpool and Manchester, business rates, and extended discussions about localism and procurement opportunities, apprenticeship and traineeships, and social care.
Ms McVey, Honorary President of the Wirral Chamber said, “These question time events and other information exchanging opportunities are invaluable in ensuring that local MPs are hearing first hand about the successes and concerns of local business. By listening and acting wherever possible it brings benefits to everyone concerned, ensuring businesses in Wirral are delivering jobs, growth and prosperity and I was delighted to be part of that experience.”
Ms Eagle said: “I always like to listen to the frontline experiences of people who are employing my constituents. It helps to hear what their worries are. I think I know what their concerns might be, but it’s nice to either have your views confirmed by employers or discover there are some other issues you may not have anticipated that are causing problems. What we need to see is employment prospects gathering pace in Wirral. Official figures show lending to small and medium-sized businesses is going down and I’d be interested to hear their experiences of accessing finance."
Having organised the event, Paula Basnett, CEO of Wirral Chamber of Commerce was delighted with success of the MPs Question Time, she commented, "There is no doubt that this was an ideal opportunity for our membership to highlight key issues and concerns about issues affecting their businesses or organisations on a daily basis. It is important for the Wirral Chamber that we communicate and create opportunities for our members to express their views and ask direct questions to senior politicians which have now listened and are in a position to effect change."
She added, "By engaging through this forum with their MPs, a number of business and economic issues have been highlighted, not only those specific to Wirral but also on a wider UK basis. Both Angela and Esther were very keen to participate, answered the questions fairly with responsibility and understanding and were united in their support for the development of Wirral businesses.”
Amongst the delegates was Paul Humphray, Investment Director of Merseyside Special Investment Fund, who found the event very productive, “It proved very informative and it was extremely useful to have direct feedback from the Wirral MPs on a range of subjects from HS2 to local procurement. There was little political point scoring that often mars the television version – both MPs seemed to be pulling in the same direction for the benefit of the Wirral economy.”
His thoughts were echoed by Michelle Pearson of Wirral Fire Protection, who added, “This was a very important event for Wirral based businesses offering an exceptional opportunity to discuss a range of business and social issues facing companies and people from day to day. It was clear that both Angela and Esther understood and acknowledged those concerns and were very happy to discuss them with the Wirral Chamber members.”