Stephen Timms, Labour’s Shadow Employment Minister, today challenged the Government to seek out incentives to invest in jobs and growth in East London. Mr Timms was speaking in a debate on the National Insurance Contributions Bill which took place in the House of Commons. The Bill looks to introduce a three year regional NICs ‘Holiday’ for new employers. However, Mr Timms pointed out that businesses in East London will not benefit from the NIC holiday.

Mr Timms told the House of Commons that it was “baffling” that the Prime Minister, David Cameron, who last week was talking up the prospect of creating a silicon valley in East London, was today at odds with his own Treasury team who are refusing to let this happen by excluding Greater London, the South East Region and the Eastern Region from the Bill.

Mr Timms quoted a speech given by Mr Cameron on 6 January where he stated: “So far from ignoring the start-ups – the insurgents if you like – we should be laying out the red carpet for them.  That is what we are doing: creating a new Entrepreneur Visa for anyone with a great idea who wants to set up a business here; nurturing small clusters of innovative companies and web start-ups, as we are in the new Tech City – our own Silicon Valley – in East London.“ In the Commons, Mr Timms said: “I agree with the Prime Minister.  What I am baffled by is that, in this bill, the Prime Minister’s own initiative is being undermined.”

Afterwards, Mr Timms said: “A few weeks ago, the Prime minster told me in Prime Minister's Questions that the East of London would be a ‘fantastic space for an incubator for new businesses’. Moreover, Boris Johnson speaks of harnessing the opportunities of the 21st century. He is on the record as saying the Government must do more to cement our position as a global magnet for new talent and a leading hub for businesses.” 

“What is strange is that the Bill being pursued by the Treasury will do exactly the opposite - it will stifle innovation and entrepreneurship in East London and jeopardise the economic recovery.” 

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AuthorStephen Timms