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Rishi Sunak insists 'small businesses are booming' after resident tells him four closed in his constituency last week
2 August 2023, 09:26 | Updated: 2 August 2023, 13:33
Rishi Sunak has insisted small businesses are booming, as a caller from his own constituency told him that four businesses had closed down last week.
Jo from Richmond in North Yorkshire - Mr Sunak's constituency - told the prime minister that four independent businesses had closed down in their area last week, and blamed Tory policies as the reason why they are struggling.
They were York House antiques, the Fleece Hotel, Cross View Tearooms and Ravensworth Nurseries, which has traded for 57 years.
Mr Sunak said he knew some of those businesses "personally" and said the fact they were closing was "sad".
But the prime minister hit back at Jo's claim that Tory policies are hurting businesses, insisting that one of the primary reasons people are struggling economically at the moment is high energy bills.
Rishi Sunak says 'you've got to trust me' in bringing inflation down and 'easing' financial pressure
"Every businesses has different circumstances," Mr Sunak told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.
"I've been out and about a lot in the last week or two...talking to landlords - lots of them were telling me business is good, that footfall is up!"
As for how the government is taking "practical steps" to help struggling business owners, Mr Sunak said he is "reforming the welfare system" and getting more people into work to solve staff shortages.
The prime minister also insisted one of the most effective ways to help people with the cost of living is to get inflation down - which he insists is not an "abstract economic concept - but something that has a tangible effect on people's lives.
It will be "completely transformative" when inflation does come down, he said.
Mr Sunak added that businesses this year will see a 75 per cent reduction on their business rates bill, while around 40 per cent of them no longer pay employers' national insurance.