Enterprising Minister learns new skills

Enterprising Minister learns new skills

Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise Matthew Hancock MP picked up one or two butchery skills when he visited Taylors Butchers in Earlsdon, Coventry earlier today.

Matthew Hancock MP (left) with John Taylor at the shop in Coventry.

Matthew Hancock MP (left) with John Taylor at the shop in Coventry.

The West Suffolk MP broke his journey to visit Coventry based butcher and National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT) Policy Director John Taylor MBE and his son Stuart, at their shop in Newcombe Road before continuing his journey to The Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

It is the first opportunity the newly promoted minister has had to visit a business which is taking advantage of the extension of Primary Authority, a flagship policy in the Government’s red-tape cutting agenda.

Primary Authority (PA) was introduced in 2009 to address businesses’ concerns about how different local authorities apply environmental health, licensing and trading standards legislation on the ground. PA allows multi sited businesses operating across local authority boundaries the right to form a statutory partnership with one local authority which then provides robust and reliable advice for other councils to take into account when carrying out inspections or dealing with non-compliance.

From October 1st this year the law allows tens of thousands of small businesses that share an approach to compliance, typically members of trade associations to benefit from such a scheme and members of the NFMFT will be some of the first to benefit from this.

The NFMFT is working with Paul Hobbs, Principal Environmental Health Officer and Commercial Team Manager at Horsham District Council in developing a PA scheme for Federation members.

With the Minister and Mr Hobbs at Taylors was NFMFT chief executive Roger Kelsey who said: “Getting clear and consistent advice is absolutely essential and Primary Authority provides the opportunity for the Federation to develop a good working relationship with Horsham District Council so it fully understands our sector, the challenges our members face, and knows what is practical when giving guidance.”

While visiting, Mr Hancock went on a tour of the premises where John’s father started the family business in 1939. After seeing the facilities and processes at the shop and learning about the challenges small businesses face and how PA will benefit businesses like Taylors. The Minister met the staff, including apprentice Claire Coleman who gave him an impromptu lesson in sausage making.
Concluding his ministerial visit filling and linking several pounds of sausages Claire said: “Mr Hancock is a bit of a natural and for a first attempt had done a pretty good job”!

Claire started as a bakery assistant at Taylors five years ago and deciding there was more to interest her than pies and pasties quickly transferred to the meat side. As Butchery Assistant she is responsible for making sausages while continuing to learn the trade.

Also attending was representatives of the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) Duncan Johnson (Deputy Director – Primary Authority) and Business Engagement Manager Gordon Maddan.

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