March 7 2014 Latest news:
by Tim Lamden
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Boris Johnson told traders in West Hampstead there was “dosh” on offer to them in the City Hall coffers during a visit last week.
The Mayor of London dropped into the Wet Fish Café, in West End Lane, last Thursday afternoon to speak to business owners packed into the venue to mark the launch of the new West Hampstead Business Association (WHBA).
Mr Johnson spoke at length about the investment opportunities available to local businesses from his office and took questions from traders keen to quiz him on business matters.
He said: “My advice to you is to be very, very confident and positive about what is going on in your neighbourhood.
“If you think that you’ve got a large group of businesses who all share the same objectives then try to build up an identity and campaign on issues you believe in.
“We are here to help in City Hall. We give dosh, we are talking money.”
The mayor also criticised the cost of business rates in the capital, telling traders: “Business rates are too high. We need a national campaign to cut business rates. I think it’s crazy. I’ve been mayor for six years and they’ve grown and grown and grown.”
Last week’s visit was arranged by Cllr Simon Marcus, the Hampstead and Kilburn Conservative parliamentary candidate for the 2015 general election.
He joined Mr Johnson on a walking tour of local businesses which took him from the Wet Fish Café along West End Lane en route to St James Church, where he met the church’s vicar, Fr Andrew Cain.
Asked what he thought of Mr Marcus’s election chances in 2015, Mr Johnson did not lack confidence in his Conservative colleague.
“He’s a brilliant candidate,” he said. “I don’t think it’s even going to be close – he’s going to be miles ahead. I’ve known him for years since he ran his boxing gym. I think he’ll go a long way in Parliament.”
After leaving the café, Mr Johnson was mobbed by schoolchildren and passers-by desperate to have their photo taken with the mayor as he walked down West End Lane.
Having popped into West End Lane Books store, Mr Johnson concluded his visit at St James Church, in Sherriff Road, where he spoke with Fr Cain about his plans to run a post office from the church following the planned closure of the West End Lane post office branch.