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News Report Page 12 of 16
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Damien Moore MP engagement with local Council three times higher than other Sefton MPs

OFFICIAL figures from Sefton Council show that Damien Moore MP engaged with the Council at a rate 3 times higher when compared to the next highest Sefton MP in the 2021 to 2022 financial year. The data show that Mr. Moore submitted 317 formal enquiries on behalf of his constituents to Sefton Council between:- 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022, compared to 93 from Bill Esterson and 50 from Peter Dowd. This represents more than double the volume of enquiries than the other 2 MPs combined. Each enquiry typically represents a piece of complex casework on behalf of a constituent, not the thousands of routine emails sent across the same period. MPs frequently engage with local Councils to support constituents who have fallen through the gaps due to Council mismanagement, and act often as a measure of last resort for a struggling family or individual. This year's figures build on those for last year, when official figures showed that Mr. Moore submitted 214 enquiries in the period 23 March 2020 to 29 April 2021, compared to 49 for Bill Esteron MP and 38 for Peter Dowd MP.

Damien Moore, Member of Parliament for Southport, said:- "It is a regretful that the Labour-dominated Sefton Council seem to persist in failing to support Southport and its hard working residents. I will not take lightly any attempt to treat Southport's residents as in any way inferior or less deserving of the Council's attention than those residents from Bootle and elsewhere in Sefton. Southport deserves better local Governance, and I will continue doing everything I can to stand up for our local community and for local families."

A 3rd of Northern SMEs set to hike prices thanks to sky high inflation

HIGH inflation is by far the biggest challenge on SME's minds across the North of England over the next 12 months, WorkLife's latest Small Business Monitor has revealed. 37% of smaller firms WorkLife engaged with across the:- North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humberside cited inflation as one of the top three challenges facing their business over the next 12 months. Following this were a range of other concerns, including rising business rates (27%), sourcing and recruiting quality talent (22%) and supply chain complexities (21%). Looking after employee wellbeing (20%) was also cited as a pertinent challenge.

Further down the list were slowing consumer demand (18%), helping staff transition back into office working (14%), geopolitical risks (13%), and other financial issues such as getting access to loans or over drafts (12%) and paying back Covid19 support loans (10%). With so many SMEs feeling the pinch from sky high inflation, it is possible prices could rise even further for consumers. More than a third (39%) of firms across the North say they will be looking to increase the cost of products and / or services in the face of rising inflation, while 33% were exploring cheaper means of sourcing goods and services needed to run the business.

The research found that SMEs' investment plans could also be hit hard. Some 15% of respondents in the Region said:-they were putting plans to invest in the business on hold due to high inflation, while 12% were scrapping investment plans altogether. For some employees, redundancies or cuts to working hours could be on the horizon. While 11% of firms expected to lay off staff as a result of rising inflation, the same number (11%) said they were looking at reducing hours. Some 6% were looking at reducing salaries and benefits, while 8% of firms were expecting to expand pay and rewards. Despite the threat of inflation, there is clear optimism regarding income among businesses within the North of England. 42% SMEs expect revenue to increase in the next 12 months, while only 29% of firms expect it to reduce. 24% predict income will remain at the same level.

Niamh McLaughlin, Managing Director of WorkLife by OpenMoney, commented:- "While there is clear positivity from Northern SMEs in terms of business income, the outlook remains very unclear two years on from the first UK lockdown. Not only are smaller businesses feeling the effects of rising prices and bills, they are also grappling with issues such as supply chain constraints and labour shortages. Particularly for firms being forced to put investment plans on hold, it's of upmost importance to ensure any available budget is being allocated to the areas that will have the biggest impact on the overall health of the business. How employers help staff manage the impact of inflation on their own finances could well impact their decision to stay and strive to support the company long-term, so a robust pay and benefits strategy is certainly not an area to be overlooked right now."

WorkLife's Small Business Monitor is based on research carried out by 3Gem among 250 senior financial and HR decision makers in SME companies with:- 5 to 250 employees across the North East, North West and Yorkshire & Humberside. Fieldwork for the Spring report took place in March 2022.


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