Scarborough Spa pulls in major conference

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THE Prime Minister could be coming to Scarborough as some of the country’s top politicians sign up for a conference in the town.

Business secretary Vince Cable and shadow chancellor Ed Balls have already confirmed their attendance for the event at the Spa next month.

The South Bay venue, which recenlty underwent a £6.5 million upgrade, is to host the Federation of Small Businesses Annual Conference.

The organisation is understood to have issued an invitation to Prime Minister David Cameron, inviting him to speak at the event alongside his parliamentary colleagues.

However it is not yet known whether he will be able to attend as the conference falls only a few days after the Budget.

Also due to attend as motivational speakers are Olympic silver medallist Roger Black and the founder of Coffee Republic Sahar Hashemi, who will both be hosted by Scarborough-born television presenter and journalist Selina Scott.

Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill said: “I think this will be a great opportunity for Scarborough to showcase our conference facilities. We have got some very good quality hotels and guest houses, and hopefully it will help to attract more big conferences in the future.”

The conference, which runs on March 23 and 24, is set to bring more than 600 delegates from across the country.

Cllr David Jeffels, portfolio holder for Tourism, said: “This is a very prestigious conference, and an important one too considering the present economic climate. It is good that we have got two very prominent politicians speaking at the conference, as this is the type of event we are wanting to attract to Scarborough.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of conference bookings over the next couple of years, which will form a valuable part of our economy. They bring excellent business for our hotels, restaurants and shops, which go on to bring benefits in terms of jobs and secondary spending.”

To accompany the conference the Yorkshire Committee of the Federation of Small Businesses has organised a local producers market to run in the Spa’s glass atrium in a bid to give delegates a “true taste of Yorkshire”.

There will also be Michelin-starred chef James MacKenzie from the Pipe and Glass, in South Dalton, hosting cookery demonstrations assisted by students from Yorkshire Coast College.

Simon Williams, the federation’s North Yorkshire regional chairman, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the conference in Scarborough and can’t wait to show off what a great town it is and what great members we have here.

“We think nationally business can learn a great deal from the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of our North Yorkshire members.

“From the Yorkshire Coast College students producing our meal on the Friday evening to the producers market open to delegates and the public on Friday and Saturday, we are sure the members, business and political speakers will get a true “taste of Yorkshire” on their visit.”

Delegates at the conference will also have the chance to raise concerns with Small Business minister Mark Prisk and shadow Small Business minister Toby Perkins in a surgery session.

Roger Anthony Black MBE is a retired British athlete. During his athletics career, he won individual silver medals in the 400 metres at both the Olympic Games and the World Championships. He also won two individual gold medals at the European Championships, and 4x400 metres relay gold medals at both the World and European Championships.

Dr John Vincent “Vince” Cable is a Liberal Democrat politician and economist who is currently the Business Secretary in the coalition government. He has been Member of Parliament for Twickenham since 1997.

Edward Michael Balls, is a Labour politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Morley and Outwood since 2010, and is the current Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. From 2005 to 2010, he was the MP for Normanton and he served in the Cabinet from 2007 to 2010. Balls is married to current Shadow Home Secretary and fellow Labour MP Yvette Cooper, and in 2008 they became the first married couple to serve together in a British Cabinet.

Sahar Hashemi founded Coffee Republic, the UK’s first US style coffee bar chain with her brother and built it into one of the UK’s most recognised high street brands with a turnover of £30m. She is also the author of the bestselling book ‘Anyone Can Do It - building Coffee Republic from our kitchen table’ which has been translated into 6 languages.

Selina Scott is a British newsreader, journalist, television producer and presenter. Scott was born in Scarborough in 1951, the eldest of five children. Her late father, Charles, was a police sergeant and her mother, Betty, was formerly a journalist from Ryedale.