It was a breakfast grill for the Prime Minister this morning as he met with small business leaders in Brentford.
David Cameron stopped off at Time cafe, in Brentford Lock, to share coffee and croissants with several of the people who are trying to make a living in the town during this period of economic turmoil. He was accompanied by Mary Macleod, MP for Brentford and Isleworth, and Apprentice star Karren Brady - both of whom are small business ambassadors for the Government.
Mr Cameron did take time to pay tribute to the local football team Brentford FC, expressing delight with their current position atop the League 1 table.
The PM's visit came ahead of his appearance at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) where he is expected to announce measures aimed at reducing the amount of red tape which make life difficult for smaller companies.
The Prime Minister said: "The message I got from the people I met in Brentford this morning is that small businesses like them are vital for future growth. They want help with the rates, with National Insurance, with hiring new staff, with the cost of child care for working parents, with everything that makes it easier for them to thrive.
“My message to them is to 'stick at it' and the message from them to us is to ‘keep helping small businesses’ - which is what we intend to do. Areas like Brentford, and West London in general, are seeing real growth in the small business sector and I very much see future increases in the job market coming from that area."
Mr Cameron said the immediate impact local businesses would see from the changes he is due to announce today will be a £2,000 National Insurance rebate.
“That will hopefully allow them to take on new staff and to expand their business from there," the PM added.
Suzie Betlem, president of Brentford Chamber of Commerce, met the Prime Minister during his stop at the cafe. She said: “We welcomed the chance to speak directly to the Prime Minister about the issues we all face. Personally, I asked him to look again at business rates as I think the whole system is very archaic and needs radical reform.
“Currently if your business has a rateable value under £50,000 you can get a £1,000 reduction in rates, but that only applies to the retail sector. He needs to go further than that and make the whole thing fairer for all. I’m glad to have Mary [Macleod] on board as she really seems to be listening to us and her help is keeping the pressure on. There’s still a long way to go however.”
Earlier on Monday the Prime Minister had received a tour of John’s Boat Works at Lot’s Ait, a place where 10 small business all share a premises to help spread costs and to support each other.
Owner John Watson said: “It was a bit of a shock and quite nerve-wracking to meet the Prime Minister but he appeared very engaged and interested in what we do so I was impressed by that. We have been here nearly two years now and in those early years cash is a vital commodity, so we support any sort of tax credit or rate relief that puts money back in our hands."
"The first few years of any business are really tough and I’m glad to have had the chance to show Mr Cameron what life is like for people like us.”