One of Karen's three key priorities as the Member of Parliament for Redditch County is to bang the drum for businesses to invest locally, boosting the economy and bringing more jobs to Redditch.
As a Redditch resident, Karen is passionate about making a difference in our community, particularly when it comes to the local economy and jobs. Over the past five years she has done everything she can to help support local businesses and will continue to do so if re-elected. She meets and visits lots of brilliant local businesses every week. She welcomes the Conservative commitment to building a Britain with full employment, in which enterprise and aspiration is encouraged, and work is rewarded.
Karen particularly wants to do more to help our young people get the skills they need to succeed in life and to support local employers to build a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. She is particularly passionate about apprenticeships and wants to see many more created, with the Conservatives pledging to create three million new apprenticeships after the general election.
Karen is really proud of the fact that the two jobs fairs she has hosted have truly changed the lives of some of her constituents, be this with helping them secure employment, get the training they need or the funding required for a community project.
Since 2010 unemployment has fallen by over 60 per cent and youth unemployment is down by over 70 per cent. When Karen was elected, the total number of people in Redditch claiming Job Seeker's Allowance was 2,497. By the end of 2014 this had fallen to below a thousand (for the first time since 2007), and is now at 982.
Karen is keen to support business in the region wherever she can. The success of businesses is key to the economic recovery. Karen meets with and visits local businesses regularly. In Redditch we have fantastic foundations to build on which is why Karen set up her Business Leaders Group in 2011. The aim of this was to allow businesses and stakeholders to develop their story together so that there is clarity of vision and goals to help grow the local economy. The Business Leaders hold quarterly meetings with guest speakers as well as an annual lunch at the House of Commons.
Karen said: "I am extremely proud of Redditch County's businesses and the progress they have made in recent years. We have a fantastically diverse range of employers in our area from small firms with one or two employees to the headquarters of big companies like Halfords and GKN Aerospace.
The growth of businesses is crucial if we are going to bring more jobs and opportunities to our area, which is to the benefit of us all. As a business owner myself I know how difficult running your own company can be and understand why we must support them.
Having met many people looking for work, particularly in the hundreds of surgeries I have hosted, I know just how important it is for peoples' well-being that they are able to find a job and provide for themselves and their families. Employment provides stability, security and self-satisfaction."