Giving Staffordshire a voice as MPs back HS2

Earlier in the week we saw HS2 take a step closer as MPs approved the Hybrid Bill to push forward with Phase One of the project. MPs voted 452 to 41 to back the principle of the high speed link with work expected to start in 2017. Our job, as it has been from the start is to continue to ensure our residents voices are heard, fight for proper compensation for those affected, make sure that the impact on our environment is minimal and that we have a share of any economic benefits should the scheme be imposed on us.

Sticking with transport, bus travel in Stafford is set to get easier thanks to an additional £85,000 funding we’ve been able to secure. The extra money will support the extension of ‘real time passenger information’ (RTPI) for all bus services serving the town centre, giving passengers predicted arrival times for their next bus.
We are all keen to get more people using public transport in the county which helps keep us connected as well as helping reduce congestion on our roads. I am sure you will agree that the more attractive we can make bus travel, the more likely we are to get people to use it.

Electronic display screens have already been fitted to over 20 bus stops around Stafford, giving people scheduled arrival times for their bus journeys, and working with local bus companies, the next stage of the project in the summer, will see the introduction of RTPI.

Local companies interested in raising finance to support their future growth might be interested to learn about a finance event being organised by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership.

The free Finance for Business event is being held on Wednesday May 7 at the Gatehouse Theatre in Stafford from 11am until 2pm. Experts will be explaining the different types of finance available to local businesses and will answer questions about what option is best for the different scenarios.

Staffordshire and Black Country Business Innovation Centre (BIC) will provide information on small business grants including a new fund available within our LEP area. Minerva Business Angel Network will talk about its funding for rapid expansion, including business angel investments. These are two new grants under the local Growth Hub which supports local businesses and is funded by the Regional Growth Fund.

Staffordshire County Council’s Small Business Loans scheme run by BCRS for us, has already supported many companies in the county and BCRS will also be in attendance to talk about non-bank lending.

This will be a very useful event for not only sole traders, but also for more small to medium size businesses. Knowing what finance option is best for your business can be difficult to work out, so this provides a great opportunity to hear from the experts. To book a place at the event or to find out more visit www.nscci.co.uk/events

Another important initiative we’ve launched this week is our Treated Badly campaign which aims to increase awareness of relationship abuse amongst young people and encourage healthy relationships.

The campaign is being supported by Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis along with a range of organisations, including schools. The campaign was launched on Tuesday at Stafford college alongside work shops and advice sessions. Young people already in relationships were invited to take part in an online ‘healthy relationship’ test to help them identify abuse. Parents and teachers are also being urged to get involved. People can find out more on the campaign website at wwww.treatedbadly.co.uk.

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