Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson steps in to help Formby c

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson with Labour Councillors Mark Dowd and Jimmy Mahon, MSP's Colin Reader, Lisa Richards and staff.

A government decision to sell off a radio channel could pull the plug on a Formby couple's audio-visual business which provides sound equipment to the Liverpool Echo Arena.

Lisa Richards and Colin Reader set up the hi-tech audio visual company MSP in Bootle more than 10 years ago. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength working with Liverpool Echo Arena, Aintree Racecourse, Southport Theatre and Everton Football Club.

But a decision by the government to sell off  a radio channel which hi-tech equipment currently users could result in the plug being pulled on the successful company.

Lisa and Colin turned to their MP, Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson for help to save the business. Bill immediately contacted the Culture and Media Secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for him to personally intervene.

Lisa told Bill: "For over 10 years MSP has actively trained and developed local people. We have invested over £70,000 in buying microphones and equipment for the business. All of which use channel 69 and all of which will become worthless once the channel is sold.

"The income from the sale of the channel to a mobile phone service provider will be exceptional but the impact to small businesses like ours will be devastating.

"So we applied for compensation which had been set up by Ofcom to help businesses affected by the scheme, but we were rejected. At a time when government is encouraging SMEs and the private sector to help grow the economy and hence reduce unemployment it seems a ridiculous situation that they seem hell bent on closing us down.

"Without the compensation for the loss of our equipment because of the sale of channel 69 we will have to fund as much of the replacement ourselves which will obviously result in the company having to downscale its operation and make redundancies."

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said it would be a tragedy to see a company like MSP going to the wall because of the sell off. He has personally contacted government Culture and Media Secretary Jeremy Hunt to call on him to intervene. Bill has also submitted a series of Parliamentary question on the issue.

Bill said: "MSP is an outstanding local business which has been set up by two of my constituents in Formby and which provides training and employment to people not just from Sefton, but throughout the North West.

"But the future of the business is in jeopardy because of the government's decision to sell off the radio channel which their equipment use.

"Lisa and Colin have invested more than £70,000 in equipment which will be worthless once this sale goes through. The government will make a huge profit on the sale of the channel and all I am asking for is for companies like MSP to receive compensation for the loss they are incurring.

"We need to encourage the companies like MSP to develop and expand. Small and medium sized businesses are crucial in improving the economy. We need to give them the support they need to succeed, instead MSP is facing an uncertain future because the government is refusing to pay for the cost of the losses the company is incurring as a result of the government's own changes."

Parliamentary questions submitted by Bill Esterson MP to the Secretary of State:

What assessment he has made on the impact of the sale of the channel 69 radio frequency on businesses which hire microphone equipment?

What arrangements he has made to compensate businesses which hire microphone equipment which will be rendered obsolete by the sale of radio channel 69?

What instructions he has given to his officials to ensure that adequate compensation is paid to companies whose equipment will be rendered obsolete by the sale of radio channel 69?

What assessment he has made of the cost of compensating companies whose equipment is rendered obsolete by the sale of radio channel 69?

What assessment he has made of the criteria for allowing compensation claims by companies whose equipment is rendered obsolete by radio channel 69? 

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