VIDEO: Chancellor visits Kempston cafe

Senior cabinet minister George Osborne visited a cafe in Kempston this morning to launch a new scheme that would give small businesses a discount in their taxes.

Chancellor of the Exchequer MP George Osborne visited Chiff Chaff Cafe in Kempston, part of Project 229.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne visits the Chiff Chaff Cafe in Kempston

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne visits the Chiff Chaff Cafe in Kempston

He spent around an hour chatting to owners Bethany Pestell and Mahmoud Mehdizadeh and several customers - and he heaped praised on their chocolate cake he sampled.

The Employment Allowance is due to come in in April, whereby all shops, cafes and restaurants in properties with a rateable value of less than £50,000, which pay business rates will get a £1,000 discount on their business rates’ bills for two years.

Beth and Mahmoud were brought together by Project 229 to run the cafe, which is described as a community hub,

Mr Osborne said: “This is a great cafe and a great small business. Talking to Beth about how it’s all going has really inspired me to do everything I can to help them.

“The new employment allowance, which comes into effect three months from this week, means they won’t actually have to pay any job tax.

“They are actually thinking of hiring someone new and this will really help make that a lot easier for them.

“This is exactly what we want to achieve, these are the hardworking people we want to support.”

Mr Osborne added that he came to Bedford as part of the launch because of MP for Bedford and Kempston Richard Fuller and what he has done to help small businesses in the area.

He praised Mr Fuller for introducing the Small Business Fund and the business speed dating scheme he has started,

Following his visit co-owner Beth, 23, told the T&C: “We have had a really great morning with him.

“We have just been chatting about the changes that are coming in.

“He was asking us how the business was started up and what the cafe was doing.

“This new allowance is actually going to make a really big difference to us. Because of the size of the business it means we actually wouldn’t be paying any tax.

“So that money can actually be used for something else. and we are hoping that can go towards taking on another member of staff, which would be a huge help.”

As well as being a cafe, Chiff Chaff also hold a number of community events, including a monthly Up-Cycle event, crafts days and it hopes to hold an open-mic night in the future.