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Sefton Central’s Labour MP Bill Esterson met members of the Federation of Small Business in Crosby to hear what changes they would like made to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which is being discussed in parliament. 

Mr Esterson is a member of the committee considering the bill and asked the business owners for their comments about late payments and about business finance, which are two of the issues being discussed by MPs. 

The FSB members told Bill Esterson that it is very difficult for small businesses to get loans from the banks or from anyone else and that this causes real problems for businesses wanting to buy new equipment or carry out repairs. 

Often the same businesses which could borrow money and pay it back a few years ago now find the banks routinely saying no. 

Similarly, small businesses often have to wait too long for payment from larger companies and this can also cause real hardship. 

The MP heard how some larger businesses exploit small suppliers by delaying payment for months on end to help their own cash flow at the expense of the smaller business. 

Meanwhile, other businesses deliberately go bust owning money to suppliers and then start up again as a new business without having to pay their suppliers. This so-caller phoenix business activity is allowed unless directors are disqualified and can be a very real problem.

Bill Esterson said: "Thank you to Sue Long of kitchen firm, The Kitchen Sink, for organising a really good event. 

"It is a big commitment for business owners to give up their time when they have a business to run, so I was really pleased to have such an enthusiastic group to talk to about the challenges of running a small business. 

"My wife, Caroline and I ran our own business for many years before I became an MP and Caroline runs a different business now, so I am familiar with many of the challenges, which the FSB members talked about during our session.

"The problems of getting money for equipment or for repairs is a real concern. Many businesses who borrowed from the banks and paid back often small loans are being turned down flat and this is a big problem for our small businesses. 

"There are 4.7million small businesses employing fewer than 10 people in this country and my constituency has more than the average. So we should be doing all we can to help these businesses to thrive. After all, we have seen a fall in living standards in the last four years and that includes people running their own businesses. 

"So anything that we can do in parliament to help with this bill that is going through parliament must be the right way forward."

"I shall be doing what I can in the bill committee to raise the issue of access to finance. I shall also make clear the problems faced by my constituents and by other business owners when large businesses delay paying them for goods and services. 

"This is a real problem as well and the late payment code which is in place is voluntary and can be ignored. The reality is that for too many business owners, their customers delay paying them.

"Often, the customer is a vital source of future business, so the smaller businesses dare not complain for fear of losing business. This is a real concern with some of the multinationals. The concept of phoenix companies is also a problem where directors deliberately close a business owing many thousands of pounds. They then start a new business, often with a similar name but without having to pay suppliers. Unless directors are disqualified, there is no way of stopping this practice.

"The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill is a great opportunity to help small businesses, the backbone of our economy and a source of prosperity for the many, not just the few. I hope that the bill can make a real difference and my colleagues and I will be doing what we can to make that happen.”

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson meets Federation of Small Business in Crosby to hear what action in parliament they would like to help them thrive

Sefton Central’s Labour MP Bill Esterson met members of the Federation of Small Business in Crosby to hear what changes they would like made to the Small Business, Enterprise and...

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Maghull’s Labour MP Bill Esterson met some very special visitors to Maghull High School this week. 

The school played host to a group of students and staff from Beilun Minggang High School in Ningbo, China. 

Mr Esterson chatted to students and heard about their visit to Merseyside, their home city and plans for collaboration between students at the two schools. The MP also heard how Chinese education officials want to learn from our system of A-levels and how teaching and learning works in this country because of concerns about the way that their own exam system works.

The visit was arranged by Dr Anniaya Ding through the British Council. 

Dr Ding told Bill Esterson: "I really appreciated your time and it was my pleasure to meet you at Maghull High School. The education visit is successful and the group learned lots, particularly in A-level area and teaching and learning in England. Beilun Minggang High school would like to contribute to Maghull High School development as well. 

"Liverpool and Ningbo are both port cities. The population in Ningbo is 7.63 million. There are 2,000 institutions in the different levels with 1.33 million students. Ningbo is the second largest port in China. Cargo throughput and container freight volume are fourth and 13th respectively among the world. It is in the top 10 commercial cities in China. I believe, except education collaboration, there are lots of opportunities for developing trade links."

The students were welcomed to Maghull High School by headteacher Mark Anderson. 

Mr Anderson said: "We established the link via the British Council website. We were then contacted by Dr Ding and she acted as the go-between with the school in Beilun, Ningbo. 

"We were keen for their visit to include students. Minggang High School has students for the last three years of their study prior to university (in China Years 10, 11 and 12). The students were linked with members of our Lower Sixth and spend some time each day normally in the mornings in lessons. The rest of the time they went on visits to local attractions Liverpool museums, etc. They took a trip across the Mersey on the ferry, visit to Liverpool University, Everton and Aintree racecourse. They also went 10 pin bowling with our students.

"The visiting staff also undertook some lesson observations and discussed with me and the senior leadership team how we may take the partnership forward. Initial ideas include a virtual art gallery between the two schools, student links via Skype, lesson sharing both in delivery and planning in which we shall record clips from sixth form lessons and exchange them. 

"They are planning for a new Chinese curriculum which is planned for 2017 and they believe to be very similar to our A-levels. We are invited to visit the Chinese school at some time next year and have signed a partnership agreement. 

"The students got on ever so well together and I'm sure that the visit extended the horizons of all who were involved. Both schools agreed that there are things we can learn from each other.”

Bill Esterson said: "We have much to learn from what happens in schools in China and I am really pleased that students and staff have the chance to benefit from our guests from Ningbo. Collaboration between schools is really important and the internet means that this can happen anywhere in the world. 

"The students who visited were clearly very excited to be here and wanted to know what happens in England. I think they mostly wanted to know whether I had met the Queen, which goes to show her appeal reaches even into a Communist country.

"Maghull High School is an excellent school and I am sure that the visitors from China will have learned a great deal. Teaching and learning at Maghull is very good. I know this as my daughter goes there but I hope that Maghull students will also benefit from working with their new friends in Ningbo. 

"The education officials in China who decided that staff and students should visit Maghull High School made a wise choice and I look forward to hearing about the benefits of the joint working in years to come. I shall also be speaking to businesses across Merseyside about the opportunities that might be available from building links with Ningbo not least the fact that it is a port city."

Maghull Labour MP Bill Esterson greets Chinese students during their visit to Maghull High Schooll

Maghull’s Labour MP Bill Esterson met some very special visitors to Maghull High School this week. 

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Formby’s MP Bill Esterson was on hand to present the new school council with their badges at Woodlands Primary School. 

The MP spoke to the school assembly about the importance or representing the whole school and of listening to what others want.

He also watched as the council was presented with a cheque for £1,000 by the Friends of Woodlands Primary School Association.

Bill Esterson said: "I was delighted to be asked to present the Woodlands Primary School Council with their badges. 

"The children were very excited and clearly looking forward to being school councillors. 

"The Friends of Woodlands School Association have given the council £1,000 to spend on the school and this means the council can make a real difference. 

"The children also showed me the new play area outside the reception class and were obviously very proud of their school. 

"Thank you to all of the children and staff at the school for making me very welcome and good luck to the school council for the year ahead."

Formby Labour MP Bill Esterson meets Woodlands Primary School Council as they get £1,000 donation from school association

Formby’s MP Bill Esterson was on hand to present the new school council with their badges at Woodlands Primary School. 

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