Shadow chancellor Ed Balls - ‘I don’t feel David Cameron and George Osborne are making changes that people in Yarmouth and Gorleston can feel’
PUBLISHED: 17:41 13 February 2014 | UPDATED: 17:41 13 February 2014
(C) Archant Norfolk 2014
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls met “one of the broadest and most eclectic mixes” of business and community leaders during a trip to Gorleston.
The MP, who was born in Norfolk and who has family in Norwich, visited the Cliff Hotel this afternoon to find out from local business owners and community groups what barriers they face.
The Q&A session, organised by the Great Yarmouth Labour party group, was also chance for independent traders to ask the senior Labour politician how his party could make a difference to people’s lives on the east coast.
Talking to the attendees, Mr Balls said: “I’ve been to lots of discussions but this has to be one of the broadest, most eclectic groups of people I’ve come across. You’ve made some great connections.”
The event, entitled Business and Community – Working Together, was aimed at promoting how the two groups could work together to share ideas and best practice.
Speaking after, Mr Balls said: “People want to know what we are going to do about jobs – Great Yarmouth has one of the highest rates of unemployment. They want to know whether we’re backing apprenticeships for young people.
“Sometimes in opposition you see that what people want is a change. I don’t feel that David Cameron and George Osborne, who have promised that, are really making changes that people in Yarmouth and Gorleston can feel.”
Accompanying Mr Balls was Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth, Lara Norris.
“Ed’s come to hear from the people on the ground who are making a difference in our community and the fantastic organisations working together and tackling problems,” said Lara.
“Small businesses and community groups are facing the same barriers: and that’s mainly about money - small businesses just can’t get the finance from the banks, and charities are being made to jump through more and more hoops to try and get funding from an ever shrinking pot.
“I want to see more areas like ours, where people are getting organised on the ground and changing communities for the better.
“That’s why I’ve brought all these people together - to show Ed what Labour needs to do in power to support our communities, because it’s the people that keep places like Yarmouth great.”