The Shadow Business Secretary joined Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Chester at the University of Chester this week.

Chuka Ummuna and Chris Matheson met small and new business owners from the city at the Riverside Innovation Centre.

These included Big Heritage, a social enterprise which helps communities discover their past, and Haylo Theatre, a theatre-in-education group whose current project deals with the difficult subject of dementia.

The business owners present discussed the challenges they faced, including an inability to secure funding from high street banks, the costs of setting up an office, and the problems of cash-flow and bills that new start-ups struggle with.

Chuka said: "It was fantastic to be welcomed in Chester by our candidate Chris and get some first-hand accounts of what these businesses need in order to take the next step. Labour will lower then freeze business rates, freeze energy bills to save a businesses an average of £400 a year, and set up a British Investment Bank which will be regionalised allowing small and growing businesses real access to finance which banks have failed to deliver during the last 5 years."

Chris Matheson said: "There is some real talent in Chester’s small business community, with the ambition and work ethic to succeed. The University’s Riverside Innovation Centre is a fantastic facility. Today Chuka provided the missing piece to the jigsaw, which is Labour’s plans for real government support for small businesses, to help start-ups and small or medium size firms to grow and drive our economy forward."

Nick Hilton, Co-founder of SnapStudies, a company which provides support for a variety of learning styles for school-age children via an interactive website, said: "We felt like our opinion matters and that the efforts we are putting in are being appreciated. If more people got the opportunity to meet MPs in a similar way they would feel less disconnected from politics. Their efforts were truly appreciated."