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Small businesses could help fill void left by hundreds of Norfolk job losses, says county MP and cabinet minister

Thetford town councillors with Elizabeth Truss MP supporting Small Business Saturday at Thetford Winter Wonderland. Picture: FIONA WALKER

Thetford town councillors with Elizabeth Truss MP supporting Small Business Saturday at Thetford Winter Wonderland. Picture: FIONA WALKER

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Growing numbers of small businesses could help to fill the void left by hundreds of potential job losses in Norfolk, a county MP and senior government minister has said.

Elizabeth Truss has backed Norfolk's economy to prosper. Picture: PA Elizabeth Truss has backed Norfolk's economy to prosper. Picture: PA

As Christmas approaches, a dark shadow hangs over the festive period for many workers as companies such as Palmer and Harvey, Multiyork, Colman’s/Britvic and BAE Systems have proposed redundancies.

The CITB has also unveiled plans to move its Bircham Newton headquarters to Peterborough, meaning more than 1,000 jobs are at risk in Norfolk.

MORE: What are you doing about Norfolk’s 1,150 potential job losses? We demand answers from the government

But on visiting Thetford’s Winter Wonderland, a seasonal market designed to promote independent traders for the weekend’s national Small Business Saturday campaign, South West Norfolk MP and chief secretary to the Treasury Elizabeth Truss said: “We’ve seen this year a record number of businesses start up in the UK.”

MP Elizabeth Truss. Picture: MATTHEW USHER MP Elizabeth Truss. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

Asked if they could help to fill the void, she said: “Lots of businesses are starting up in this area and of course they provide employment and opportunities.”

Ms Truss has pledged that “every assistance” will be given to highly skilled Multiyork workers looking to find new employment, as the firm’s headquarters is based in Thetford.

She has met with the team at Thetford JobCentre and said: “They are telling me that there are jobs available and they are finding jobs for people.

“There are lots of employers that are really looking for new people to join their business.”

MORE: Elizabeth Truss backs Norfolk to become business leader as job losses loom

She is meeting with the town’s leading employers soon to see how they can support young people in particular - but said small businesses have a “huge benefit”.

Asked if those facing redundancy could make their own living if unable to find employment, she said: “There is definitely a big opportunity with growing numbers of people setting up their own businesses.

“Those businesses also bring a lot to the area’s character as well.”

To do that though, Ms Truss said small business owners “want to see better infrastructure”, adding: “That’s why we’re working to improve the train services and the roads.” Many are also concerned about the cost of business rates, she said.

“We’re doing all we can to help small businesses with their costs while making sure those skilled people available have opportunities,” Ms Truss said.

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