Small businesses have a new politician at the helm. MP for Stourbridge Margot James has replaced Anna Soubry as minister for small business, consumer protection and corporate social responsibility in the newly formed department for business, energy and industrial strategy. She has also been appointed as parliamentary under secretary of state for the department.
Speaking about her new appointment, she commented, “I am delighted to be joining the ministerial team at @bisgovuk and will do all I can to support businesses and employees in my new role.”
So what can we expect from the new minister? Here are 6 facts…
She is a former business owner
Margot James co-founded clinical trial and PR consultancy organisation Shire Health Group in 1986. The daughter of a self-made businessman, James is a graduate of the London School of Economics (LSE) with a degree in Economics and Government. Shire Health was voted “Consultancy of the Year” three times. James went on to sell the business almost 20-years later to WPP in 2004.
Her appointment has been welcomed by the FSB
Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses said the FSB was “delighted” at her appointment.
“We have worked closely with her in the past, both at a local and national level,” he said. “The first priority in her ministerial in-tray must be to establish the small business commissioner to tackle late payments, and to work with the Treasury on how to boost economic growth.”
She voted remain in the EU referendum
In a statement to her constituents she wrote,
Despite all its problems, which are manifold, the EU still carries a torch for freedom across the world. I think that Britain’s place is within the EU, playing an active role in trying to resolve some of the threats which face us all. I am absolutely convinced that it is better to work with other countries on more than an ad hoc basis.
She has been a vocal supporter of gay rights and equal marriage
As the first openly lesbian MP in the Conservative party James gave an impassioned speech following the successful gay marriage vote which she called “another step forwards for the equal rights of gay people.”
She has spoken out in support of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
The new business minister served as parliamentary private secretary to Lord Green, the minister for trade and investment between 2012 and 2014. She contributed to setting up the all party parliamentary group for trade and investment. One of the APPG’s aims was to connect with, and support, SMEs in growing and exporting. She has previously spoken out in support of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). In January 2015, she said: “The opportunity afforded by TTIP has huge potential, with the right safeguards in place, for growth on both sides of the Atlantic.”
She has supported a reduction in business rates and the enterprise allowance
Margot James previously sent Freedom of Information requests to every local authority asking whether they were using their powers to reduce business rates. She has also praised the New Enterprise Allowance and commented on its impact on her own constituency of Stourbridge.
Image: By Policy Exchange (Flickr: Margot James MP), via Wikimedia Commons