Ed Miliband visits Yorkshire firm as part of Forum’s ‘Business Buddy’ programme

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Leader of the Labour Party and Doncaster MP, Ed Miliband, visited a Yorkshire firm on Friday as part of a scheme which hooks politicians up with small business owners. The ‘Business Buddy' visit – a programme set up by the Forum of Private Business – saw Ed visit Yorkshire Cable Drums & Wood Packaging Ltd. near Doncaster. The business, which makes wooden cable drums that it indirectly exports all over the world as a vastly cheaper alternative to steel drums, is family run and employs around 40 staff in the village of Askern. Ed was given a tour of the factory by company MD Bill Flint, met workers and saw the unique production process of the drums, the biggest of which measure as high as 5 metres. "It was a really useful visit," said Bill. "Ed was really interested in what we are doing here as a small Yorkshire based business. I think he left clearly impressed with what we are doing. "The visit also allowed me to discuss some of the wider issues we face as small business, such as employment law and also bank lending. He added: "To have a face to face with somebody who could potentially be the next Prime Minister has been a great experience for us, and hopefully he'll be staying in touch." After his visit to the Askern business, Ed said: "Yorkshire Cable Drums is a gem of a company. I was delighted to hear about its work, tour its premises and meet members of its workforce. "Bill and the other members of his family who work within the business should be very proud of what they have achieved." Mr Miliband added: "Small and medium-sized businesses like Yorkshire Cable Drums are vital to Britain's economy. They are an engine room for job creation and it is hugely important they are given the support they need in these difficult economic times." The Forum has arranged for dozens of Business Buddy visits across the country, although Ed's visit on Friday has been one of the more high profile MPs to take part. Forum policy adviser Robert Downes said: "Our Business Buddy visits allow our members to engage with MPs and ask questions that are of real relevance to their operations. "Most small business owners don't get the chance to speak with politicians directly so most have found this experience really helpful."

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