Ripon’s MP has spoken up in support of the area’s business community.
Julian Smith met Tourism Minsiter John Penrose to discuss the Government’s support for businesses in the holiday trade, which employ one in eight people in Mr Smith’s constituency, and has also visited two of the city’s biggest employers.
Mr Smith met the Tourism Minister to discuss how the Government’s plans to boost the hospitality and tourism industries might affect jobs in Ripon.
The MP said: “The tourism industry is such a key part in our local economy, supported by our excellent tourist body Welcome to Yorkshire, so I am glad it is a priority for the Government.
“It was good to have the opportunity to bring the issues and challenges directly to the Minister.”
Mr Smith has also been campaigning to make sure Ripon and North Yorkshire benefit from the extra tourism the London Olympics will attract.
“It is estimated 60,000 jobs across the country could be created as a result of the Olympic Games and I want to ensure we make the case to bring many of those to Skipton and Ripon.”
The meeting came before a visit from Mr Smith to two of Ripon’s biggest businesses, which together employ hundreds of people across the city.
The MP visited Wolseley’s base in Ripon and Potter Group’s headquarters in Melmerby.
“It is important that everyone works to ensure Ripon is a great place to do business and major firms continue to be based here and employ local residents.
“I want to do all I can to support this aim and encouraged both these businesses to let me know about the challenges they are facing so I can raise these with Ministers.”
During the visit to Potter Group, Mr Smith met with apprentice, David Fletcher, who has just started working at the firm.
Mr Smith said: “It is great to see apprentices being taken on by companies in Ripon and I would encourage as many businesses as possible to consider taking on an apprentice and using the support on offer from the Government.
“I am very happy to speak to any business in the constituency who is interested in taking on an apprentice.”
Recently Mr Smith hosted a meeting for Ripon city leaders, including the city council and chamber of trade, to encourage groups across the city to work together to boost Ripon’s economy and bring business and employers back into the area.
Speaking at the meeting, he said he feared Ripon was “not punching anywhere near its weight,” and that without a coordinated approach the city risked missing out on funding available for regeneration projects.
He has welcomed the news that Ripon City Council plan to set aside a £60,000 budget to employ a city centre manager.
The city council took the radical decision at a meeting earlier this month. A city centre manager will be tasked with revitalising the shopping street’s in Ripon historic centre, promoting the city as a holiday venture, and boosting footfall in the area’s tourist attractions and local shops.