Posted: 29.04.21 at 14:27 by LAYTH YOUSIF @HitchinNubNews
Labour's shadow chief secretary to the Treasury has hailed our town's independent businesses.
In an exclusive interview with Hitchin Nub News during a visit on Thursday, Bridget Phillipson praised the community spirit shown by people, organisations and businesses in our town during the Covid pandemic.
The Labour big hitter embarked on a tour of Hitchin with town centre manager Tom Hardy and was impressed with what she saw, while taking on concerns raised.
"It's been a fantastic morning here in Hitchin to meet so many local traders. It has been really hard for businesses but they've come through it with fantastic support from local Labour councillors.
"I did hear concerns from some traders that not all government support has been available to them particularly cut-off dates around the furlough scheme - and that's really disappointing.
"Support from government hasn't always matched the needs that local businesses are facing. But I'm confident that Hitchin has a really bright future ahead of it - it's a wonderful place.
"If people are spending a lot more time closer to home hopefully they will continue to support local traders and shop local."
Ms Phillipson, a rising star in the Labour party, after first being elected to Parliament in 2010, and promoted to the shadow cabinet by leader Keir Starmer last year, took a tour of town centre including businesses in The Arcade.
Despite pressure on 'High Street' shops and stores the shadow minister was impressed by the number of independent businesses that are starting to thrive once again in our town after three lockdowns in 13 months.
Speaking exclusively to HNN in Market Place, Ms Phillipson MP said: "There is a really strong sense of community spirit here in Hitchin and people have pulled together incredibly during the pandemic.
"I think people really appreciate the efforts that family run businesses have made when going above and beyond in helping the community, particularly those supporting vulnerable people who have had a really tough time.
"As we're coming up to the summer it's really great to see so many open air spaces being used to support local businesses who really need that support at this time."
Hitchin town centre boss Tom was on hand to give the shadow cabinet member an informative tour and spoke to Nub News during the visit.
Busy Tom explained he thought it was good for the town that Ms Phillipson visited and hoped that she could take information back to Westminster.
He added that issues around business rates and grant funding were raised during discussions and hoped that concerns would be fed back to parliament.
"We're always open for members of all different political parties to come to Hitchin," he said.
"With the local elections coming up it's important for politicians to meet with different councillors of all persuasions to come and learn more about our town.
'Because we are a good example of how a town can bounce back after the pandemic."
Hitchin councillors Judi Billing and Ian Albert were also present during the visit.
"We're very pleased to have her her along today to show off our lovely town," said the respected, long-servng local councillor, who added: "Which is helped by Hitchin being a Labour town. Let's hope we can keep it as a Labour council."
Local elections are fast approaching and Hitchin Nub News will be covering democracy in action in a fair and unbiased way.
As always Nub News take a neutral political position - but whatever your political stance we urge residents to go out and vote to make your voice heard. And as you will read in our story it is absolutely safe to visit the ballot box next week.
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FULL LIST OF NORTH HERTS CANDIDATES
Thursday May 6 is polling day and the clock is ticking for you to decide which candidate or party you will vote for.
Taking part in the process of local democracy will ensure you make your voice heard by the people who are there to serve YOU.
Here is a full list of candidates in the Hertfordshire County Council elections in North Herts divisions. Listed alphabetically.
Baldock and Letchworth East
Leo Chapman, Labour Party
Tim Lee, Green Party
Michael Muir, Conservative Party
Richard Winter, Liberal Democrat
Judi Billing, Labour and Co-operative Party
John Bishop, Conservative Party
Sid Cordle, Christian Peoples Alliance
Andrew Ircha, Liberal Democrats
Mary Marshall, Green Party
Daisy Appoh, Christian Peoples Alliance
David Barnard, Conservative Party
Anton Jungreuthmayer, Labour Party
Marilyn Parkin, Liberal Democrats
Anni Sander, Green Party
Derrick Ashley, Conservative Party
Barbara Clare, Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts
Paul Clark, Liberal Democrats
Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, Labour and Co-operative Party
Sam Larsen, Green Party
Leigh Smith, Christian Peoples Alliance
Knebworth and Codicote
Doug Jenner, Labour Party
Katrina Nice, Green Party
Richard Thake, Conservative Party
Terry Tyler, Liberal Democrats
Tina Bhartwas, Labour and Co-operative Party
Simon Bloxham, Conservative Party
Jerry Evans, Liberal Democrats
Amy Allen, Labour and Co-operative Party
Alan Borgars, Green Party
Terry Hone, Conservative Party
Garry Warren, Reform UK
Phil Weeder, LIberal Democrats
Royston East and Ermine
Ruth Brown, Liberal Democrats
Fiona Hill, Conservative Party
Stephen Lockett, Labour Party
Steven Turner, Green Party
Royston West and Rural
George Davies, Conservative Party
Ken Garland, Labour and Co-operative Party
Steve Jarvis, Liberal Democrats