By Sarah Atherton

MP for Wrexham

Wrexham has a buoyant and thriving local economy, something that has been visible with the recent announcements of new jobs at several businesses across the town, such as at Moneypenny, Wockhardt and the Village Bakery. As the Member of Parliament for Wrexham, part of my job has been to support businesses and to help grow our local economy for the benefit of all. That is why during the pandemic, when the economic situation seemed particularly tough for many, my team and I assisted many businesses in Wrexham with accessing UK and Welsh Government loans, getting employees onto the Furlough scheme, or taking advantage of the support measures that had been put in place.

Now, as we exit the pandemic and continue the Covid-19 recovery, I am pleased to see that local businesses, along with the national economy, are getting back on their feet. This renewed economic confidence and optimism for the future among local businesses has been highlighted to me over the past week, during which I have had the pleasure of visiting several businesses across the town, providing an insight into the current local economic conditions.

At Gatewen Training in Llay, a company that has serviced the logistics, construction, and manufacturing sectors in North Wales for the past 50 years, the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman MP, and I heard about the company’s journey out of the pandemic. To continue their growth, Gatewen Training are taking advantage of the UK Government’s Kickstart scheme, which supports 16–24-year-olds on Universal Credit gain employment experience through six-month work placements. During the visit, it was great to hear from Joe Cade, Gatewen’s Kickstarter, about how the scheme has helped him, and I was also pleased to hear from Julian Hughes, Managing Director of Gatewen Training, about the company’s recent successes and growth.

Another business that I visited this week was V4B Business Finance, based on the Industrial Estate. V4B provide financial assistance to businesses using their extensive knowledge and through the pandemic have been delivering the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, switching to the Recovery Loan Scheme as restrictions eased, which has helped firms across the UK survive and now thrive. Impressively, the company also recently won a SKY SME 100 competition – one of only three firms in Wales and the only one in North Wales – which will see the company receive media support and up to £20,000 to help them get their message out. This really is a massive achievement, and I was so pleased to meet the team to hear about the hard work they put in to get to this point.

Finally, I also visited The Long Pull, a town centre pub that I know is a favourite of many in Wrexham. Here, I managed to meet with several regulars, along with the pub’s staff, and I was able to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere and great drinks. Sadly, I know that the hospitality sector has suffered disproportionately due to the Coronavirus restrictions, but I was pleased to visit the pub and to see them back on their feet and operating a wonderful established – just like what we were used to before Covid came along!

There are so many businesses in Wrexham all contributing to our local economy, helping to make it diverse, interesting and (importantly) successful, which is significant and positive given the past year. As always if you are resident in Wrexham and need my assistance with any local or national issue, please make contact with me by emailing