Oral Question: Business Confidence

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Anna Soubry: I hope that I do not disappoint the hon. Gentleman, but I am more than happy to have a meeting with him. He knows the terms on which we always have our meetings: not to shout at me. [Interruption.] Only in the House. I hope that he will join me in congratulating the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on her outstanding achievement on behalf of our nation in playing a full and important role in securing the excellent way forward to ensure that the planet that we leave for our children will be better than the one that we inherited. Yes, I will have the meeting.

John Stevenson (Carlisle) (Con): As the Minister well knows, Carlisle and Cumbria have experienced devastating floods recently. As part of the recovery, it is vital that confidence is restored as quickly as possible, especially in the business community. Will the Minister confirm that she and the Department will do everything to support Cumbrian businesses, and wherever possible, ensure that people know that Carlisle and Cumbria are open for business?

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Anna Soubry: Yes indeed, and I pay tribute to my hon. Friend and all Members of Parliament affected by this issue for their great work. I will go to that area on Tuesday, and I hope to visit Carlisle as well as Cockermouth, Kendal and Keswick if possible. I am delighted that we were able to secure £5 million funding for all businesses affected by the flooding, which will make a huge improvement. We have done that very quickly, and the money will be available quickly and—most importantly—in time for Christmas, so that all those businesses and shops can be open for businesses.

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