High business rates, increased fuel and energy costs, red tape and even difficulties in finding staff are all impacting on one small business in central Swindon, a senior Labour Party figure and local candidate heard.

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol East and the Labour Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury was joined by the Labour candidate for Swindon North, Will Stone in a visit to the Grand Bazar supermarket in Cricklade Road.

The owner Golam Choudhury told the politicians about some of the difficulties he faced: “We rent, and that’s increased recently because of interest rates driving the costs up.

“We employ 13 people here, but we have had difficulties getting staff, business rates are high and the costs of importing the foods from overseas have gone up a lot.”

Mr Choudhury and Mr Stone told Mr Jones that recently a Co-op supermarket not far away had closed down because of increasing costs.

Mr Jones, who will hold the government purse strings if Labour forms a government and he moves over from shadow to number two at the Treasury told Mr Choudhury: “One of the things we really want to sort out is business rates. We think it’s unfair that large multi-nationals who keep their stock in central warehouses and deliver it to customers’ homes don’t pay very much in business rates.

“We feel it would be fair for them to pay more, and that would even things up a about, and we could give more help to smaller businesses.

“If even large chains aren’t able to stay in business in high streets then it will be even more difficult for independents like Mr Choudhury and small businesses, and we need to sort out inflation which went up because of chaos in the Conservative Party, and get the economy back on track.

“In the first instance we need to reverse the direction of travel where people feel things are just getting worse.”

Mr Stone said: “One of the things that surprised me was Mr Choudhury saying he struggled to find staff. I want to work to try and get more people into employment to help with that.”

After the visit Mr Choudhury said: “I was pleased to hear that a Labour government wants to do something about business rates and also about getting inflation and the costs of living down.

“People, especially on low incomes, and small businesses are struggling, and any help will be very important in a community like this.”