Julian Knight's Westminster Diary, 26/09/19

Solihull Mail

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to experience a snapshot of what it is that makes Solihull such a thriving town.

In one day, I visited three local businesses. Each had something to celebrate.

First off, there was the Dove House Fish Bar. I’m sure this will be familiar to many of you, but it has now earned a nationwide profile after winning a prestigious Seafish Award.

Their Quality Assurance Award is a real standard of excellence, involving a full inspection and regular check-ups to ensure everything is up to standard. Only two hundred shops across the country have met this standard, including just four in the entire West Midlands.

It was great to be there with Petro, Val, and Eleni as they received this hard-won recognition of their excellent work.

Next I visited Popworld, the local nightclub, in order to see their new refurbishment. They’ve done a great job, the venue has been transformed and I’m sure that the new look, combined with the friendly team who showed me round, will make sure that it remains a key part of our town’s night time economy.

Projects like this refurbishment don’t just benefit the ravers flocking to the next UV party. They represent a vote of confidence in Solihull: business owners choosing to invest their time and money in improving and expanding businesses here.

This goes just as much for new businesses, and I was honoured that my final Friday engagement was taking part in the opening of our town’s very first branch of Metro Bank.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, this young and innovative chain launched in 2010. It aims to offer a more flexible and modern alternative to traditional high street banking – and in less than a decade has grown to over sixty branches nationwide.

It was very interesting to meet not only the staff of the new branch but also Vernon Hill, the man who founded Metro Bank, and hear more about what he’s trying to do.

Each of these may only be a little vignette, but they add up to a big picture: Solihull is a great place to do business.

Originally published in the Solihull Mail, 19/09/19.