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Mon, 19 October 2020

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As the coronavirus crisis continues, we need a BEIS chair and committee that backs Britain’s businesses

As the coronavirus crisis continues, we need a BEIS chair and committee that backs Britain’s businesses

My track record as a parliamentarian is one of results - and working across the House to achieve them, writes Stella Creasy MP. | PA Images

3 min read

This week, we will be running articles from the MPs vying to be the new chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee. Stella Creasy says she has the experience to ensure the BEIS committee can be the constructive forum our constituents and representatives need.

Across parliament MPs agree it cannot be business as usual.

The challenge for our new BEIS Committee is how to ensure business – and especially the small businesses who account for 99% of the UK business population- is heard loudly and clearly as our nation grapples with the COVID-19 crisis.

How BEIS responds to coronavirus is vital for our country’s economy

Despite the lockdown, MPs across the house are getting stuck into fighting for their communities. Every day, hundreds dial into discussions with the Paymaster General to flag up concerns; that banks are slow to come through with loans, many businesses don’t fit the model the Treasury is using for assistance and that the self employed and those on zero hours contracts are forgotten at our peril.  Advocating for manufacturers in Thanet, crafters in South Ribble or creative entrepreneurs in North London. Highlighting the limited companies missed, the business rate cliff edges for support or the lack of coverage for those in co-working spaces - each revealing the critical gaps in coverage that must urgently be addressed.
 
How BEIS responds to coronavirus is vital for our country’s economy; it can make the difference between helping prevent thousands of businesses going to the wall and millions of people being able to stay in work by the end of this year.

We need a Chair and a Committee prepared to work together and work hard to speak up for consumers, employers and employees alike. As a former Shadow Business Minister and participant in several Select Committees, as well as with a background in the not for profit sector, I have the experience and the independence to ensure the Committee can be the constructive forum our constituents- and our representatives- need.

My track record as a parliamentarian is one of results- and working across the House to achieve them. Whether leading the fight against legal loan sharks, tax avoidance or for the rights of women in Northern Ireland, it has been through collaboration across the benches that change has been achieved. Arguments made, cases heard and above all positive outcomes sought. Now is not the time for partisanship, but is the time for critical and informed guidance to Government and regulators alike.

In recent years the BEIS select committee has proved itself a powerful forum for just that, helping to highlight the lessons from the collapse of Carillion and provide a voice for the workers of Thomas Cook.  As this crisis continues, it is even more imperative the Committee effectively scrutinises the Government and feeds back on these key areas. When it subsides, we need to concentrate on areas including emissions targets and energy security, the challenge of red tape, procurement and our work life balance.

Now more than ever, we need to be a committee not just back in business, but backing Britain’s businesses.

 

Stella Creasy is the Labour MP for Walthamstow. 

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