Thank you to everyone that submitted a nomination for my third Havant Small Business Awards, which was once again a tremendous success thanks to the support of residents.
From across the constituency more than 500 businesses that were nominated this year, there were plenty of fantastic and enterprising stories that shows that business in our area is thriving.
The overall winner was Havant & Waterlooville FC, an organisation that has enjoyed stellar success on and off the pitch in recent years, achieving back-toback promotions to reach the highest level of the non-league pyramid and growing a thriving commercial business with the Westleigh pub, which won the Best Pub Award.
The football club is also well known for its work in the Leigh Park area through the “Hawks in the Community” programme, providing outreach and sporting activities for young people.
It was just one of 12 businesses that were recognised with winners announced in 12 separate categories from Best Café, Takeaway and Pub to Best Family Business, Apprentice and Business Personality.
My awards show that across the Havant constituency we have so many thriving businesses. One of the Government's key tasks is ensuring that it helps grow our local businesses, create jobs and deliver for all of our communities.
So it was right that the Chancellor used his budget to give back to local people and shop owners. That has included cutting business rates for up to 90 per cent of all shops, saving them up to £8,000 each year, raising the Personal Tax Allowance to £12,500 saving a basic rate taxpayer £1,205 compared to 2010.
The successful businesses highlighted by my Small Business Awards, partnered with a business friendly environment being created by the Government give me hope that the Havant constituency has a bright future ahead.