Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said he was "thrilled" to see government funding making a difference to local businesses during a visit to Oswestry today (Saturday).

The Secretary of State for Levelling up visited the historic Black Gate building, which secured government support to become the Niche Patisserie Bakery and Café run by former Bake Off semi-finalist Adam Cleal.

The government-funded High Streets Heritage Action Zone saw £700,000 of investment in Oswestry’s historic town centre and local businesses in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis.

It follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson's whistle-stop visit to Oswestry on Friday evening where he watched by-election candidate Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst give vaccinations to members of the public at the Day Lewis Pharmacy in English Walls.

Mr Gove said: "The government has introduced a range of measures to help local businesses and high streets, including Covid grants, lower business rates and targeted support like the Heritage Action Zone funding scheme

"So I was thrilled to see that support paying off for local businesses and high streets in North Shropshire.

"North Shropshire needs an MP that can work best with the Government to deliver on local people’s priories - and Dr Neil is just that candidate.

"So I’m ready to work with Neil if he’s elected and I look forward to helping him put the people of North Shropshire first."


Michael Gove MP (Secretary of State for Levelling Up), Neil Shastri-Hurst (candidate), Samantha Clarke-Booth and Adam Cleal (both of Niche Patisserie Bakery and Café).

Michael Gove MP (Secretary of State for Levelling Up), Neil Shastri-Hurst (candidate), Samantha Clarke-Booth and Adam Cleal (both of Niche Patisserie Bakery and Café).


Conservative candidate for North Shropshire Dr Shastri-Hurst says he has plan to work with Mr Gove and secure more investment in high streets across the area.

"Government investment is making a big difference to North Shropshire, not just with the Heritage Action Zone but also with the new Mile End roundabout and the extra police officers on our streets.

"It’s a good start. But we need to go further and faster. That’s why I’ve set out a long-term plan to work with the government, secure investment and put North Shropshire first.

"And I’m not waiting for the by-election. I’m talking to key ministers like Michael Gove now — so we can start getting things done for North Shropshire on day one.

"If I’m elected, I’ll work with government and businesses to bring iconic building back into use, support our amazing independent local shops, and deliver investment to where it’s needed most."

The by-election was triggered to replace Owen Paterson after the Standards Committee recommended the former Conservative minister should be suspended from Parliament for 30 days over an “egregious” breach of a ban on paid lobbying by MPs.

After a botched Government bid to delay the suspension while also overhauling the standards system, Mr Paterson announced his resignation as MP for the constituency following a Government U-turn.

North Shropshire is considered to be an ultra-safe rural constituency for the Tories, with Mr Paterson having held it since 1997.

At the 2019 general election, Mr Paterson won almost 63% of the vote and beat Labour by nearly 23,000 votes, with the Lib Dems coming third.

Labour, the Lib Dems and a slew of other parties are contesting the poll on December 16.