Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson met with Sefton members of the Federation of Small Business in the first of what will become regular meetings about issues affecting small businesses in Sefton Central.
The meetings are the brain child of Bill and FSB member and Formby resident Len Collinson.
They are designed to give Bill, who himself ran a successful small business before becoming Sefton Central's MP, an clear picture of what issues small businesses here face.
Attending the meeting were a mix of new and longer-running local businesses, including: Tim Fisher from Coffee Culture UK, Ian Gordon from iKO Ventures, Thomas Kirkby from Rialto Services, Kevin Long from The Kitchen Sink, Catherine and Stuart Sime from Catherine Loreto Sime and FSB development manager for Mersyeisde, West Cheshire and Wigan, Phil McCabe.
Issues raised by the businesses include:
Reduction in footfall
High business rates
Bureaucratic red tape
Banks aren't small business friendly
Charity shops competing with existing businesses but without paying full business rates
Bill said the businesses had raised a number of issues which he would take up on their behalf.
Bill said: "I'd like to thank Len Collinson and Phil McCabe from the FSB for setting the meeting up. I found it invaluable.
"We had a range of local businesses, in varying sectors all sharing the issues and concerns that they have to deal with and things that are holding them back.
"There are 4.8million small businesses in the country. They are our biggest source of employment.
"That shows just how important they are to our economy, locally and nationally. We need our small businesses to thrive if we want a healthy economy that is creating jobs and employment opportunities for people in this area.
"What do small businesses need now from me as the MP, and what do they need from a future Labour Labour Government? That's what the purpose of these meetings is all about. For me to help our local employers create the jobs for local people and to feed back in to the national party as we formulate our vision for a prosperous future Britain."
The meeting came just days before Ed Miliband announced that when in government, Labour would slash business rates for small businesses.
Bill said: "Labour is listening to small businesses. They are the lifeblood of our economy. That is why Labour has announced that we will cut business rates to help small businesses in Formby, in Crosby, in Maghull, Aintree, Lydiate and Melling.
"We need small businesses in our community to thrive to create the much needed jobs for local people."
Bill also met with businesses from Formby Village the previous day with Formby Parish Councillors to hear what action they think is needed to improve business in Formby.
Bill said: "The meeting I had with Cllr Mike Coles, Cllr Geoff Gaskin and some of the businesses from the Village was also very interesting. The issues raised by the Formby Village businesses chimed with the concerns raised by the FSB members.
"There is clearly action that is needed to address those issues.
"It is in all our interests to have thriving local businesses. To have thriving local town centres.
"I will be raising some of these issues with Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Business Chuka Umunna and discussing them with Sefton Council and the Government.
"We need action to support local businesses and we need action to help create local job opportunities. That message is clear from all of the local businesses that I speak to."