MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

I was delighted to be able to attend the Be Inspired Business Awards (BIBAs) at Blackpool Tower this week for an evening celebrating the achievements of Lancashire companies.

I was particularly pleased for Mike Peters, founder of Fylde Universal Products, who picked up the Lancastrian of the Year award for his service to business in the county.

While many people will not recognise the name, the Wesham-based company is responsible for manufacturing some of the best-known personal care and pharmaceutical products in the world.

Mike is one of Fylde’s biggest business success stories but is not someone who craves publicity so his many achievements often go unheralded. That is why it was such a pleasure to see him honoured in this way.

I was also pleased for the other Fylde businesses which received prestigious gongs, ensuring our corner of Lancashire retained its record of solid success.

Excel Fostering, of St Annes, had another fruitful year picking up two awards for Service Business of the Year and Employer of the Year. Meanwhile, Clifton Homecare, also in St Annes, was voted New Business of the Year.

Voiteq, a global provider of voice-directed work solutions based at Whitehills Business Park, won the award for Medium Business of the Year.

Kirkham’s Nature’s Aid, a fantastic vitamin and supplements company I have had the pleasure of visiting on a number of occasions, took the award for Exporter of the Year – something I was extremely proud of given the Government’s current drive to encourage overseas trading.

I attended the awards as a guest of BAE Systems, a business which has obviously had a great deal of success in Lancashire, and many of those at the table said they were impressed by the work of companies involved in the awards.

In Parliament this week, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Rt Hon Greg Clarke MP, announced the Government will go ahead with building a new £18bn nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Following his statement, I pointed out to the Minister that fuel for British reactors currently comes from Westinghouse Springfields, Fylde’s second largest employer, and asked for assurance that fuel for any new reactors will be made domestically whenever possible.

I was delighted when the Secretary of State offered to visit Springfields to see the production line, and its importance to Fylde’s economy, for himself.

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