This week Conservative MP for Amersham and Chesham, Cheryl Gillan, writes to Bucks Free Press readers...

Last week I met representatives of businesses from across the Thames Valley, both at the House of Commons, during the Federation of Small Businesses reception, then in Buckinghamshire with my colleague MPs at the regular Buckinghamshire Business First meeting.

Generally the feeling was positive with a real recognition that future growth in the UK will come largely from successful small and medium sized businesses.

One of the issues which came up was transport links within the constituency and it is very important, particularly for young people, that we have a strong network of public transport so that they can reach, at reasonable cost, their place of work or training. An allied issue, which I touched on when addressing the Commons in the debate following the Queen’s Speech are our links to London.

There is much discussion about devolution, including more powers for directly elected Mayors such as Manchester and other cities. I cautioned that we must beware of unintended consequences. As an example I offered our experience in Chesham & Amersham.

We suffer a ‘democratic deficit’ because we have the excellent Metropolitan line service which is run by Transport for London who also own several of our stations. Buckinghamshire residents cannot vote for the London Mayor so have no say on the administration that affects their services other than through goodwill.

This – with further devolution – could be a repeated pattern which may affect the integrated nature of our transport links in the future.

Another issue which was welcomed was the doubling of child care for working families. Two fathers of families operating small businesses were amongst those who got in touch to welcome this move, because they feel it will be help both them and their partners.

The outlook for business is good. It was announced recently that the UK economy is the fastest-growing economy in the G7 group of major world economies, growing by 2.8 per cent in 2014.

The small and medium sized enterprises have huge potential in terms of creating the jobs we need so that this steady growth will continue. They are ready to meet that challenge and it is the government’s task to make sure they have the optimal conditions to do so.