Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham -

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames Duncan Hames

I left Westminster early last Thursday and headed to Monkton Park in Chippenham, where I met the local businesses exhibiting at Wiltshire Council’s Business Expo.

One of these was Swindon-based print specialists Inception, who were showing off their new 3D printer. New technology like this is exciting, not just because it’s a remarkable invention itself, but also because of the further innovations it will make possible in the future. With the help of 3D printing technology, personalised products are becoming more viable, and it is becoming easier for inventors to build prototypes and bring new products to market.

All sorts of technological advances are creating lots of new opportunities, and I am proud that we have so much advanced engineering talent in our part of Wiltshire to make the most of them.

I also spoke to a manager of Wessex Chambers’ Business Support Service, which is funded by Wiltshire Council and provides advice and support to help people in Wiltshire to start and grow their businesses. One of the services they provide is assistance in accessing Government grants, such as from the Regional Growth Fund set up by Liberal Democrat Ministers Nick Clegg and Vince Cable.

He told me about the latest winners of Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Gateway for Growth grants, funded by the Regional Growth Fund with support from Lancaster University.

RTS Group, a learning and development agency in Chippenham, received £50,000 to help it upgrade its systems and find more clients around the world. Leafield Environmental in Corsham was also awarded £50,000, which will allow it to develop new product lines.

It’s great to see so many local businesses growing and creating new jobs in our area, with support from the Coalition Government and local organisations. I’m encouraging all of them to help build a stronger economy in our part of Wiltshire.

It’s working, too. New official figures this month show that the number of Jobseekers in the Chippenham constituency has fallen by more than a third in the last two years, to its lowest since 2008. Following the Expo, I held a busy constituency surgery in Chippenham. My next will be at the Pound Arts Centre in Corsham on July 4 from 2.30pm to 4pm and at Bradford on Avon library on July 5 from 10am to 11.30am.

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