The service sector at the heart of Lancashire’s economic must not be damaged at the expense of political wrangling, one of the county’s leading businessmen has said.

Tony Raynor, managing director of Blackburn-based Abbey Telecom, said it was crucial that creating “the conditions for business growth” should be put back at the heart of Government thinking.

The latest research from the county’s Chambers of Commerce shows the service sector, which is central to its economic prosperity, saw UK sales weaken for a second successive quarter.

Abbey Telecom is sponsoring the Service Business of the Year category at this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, one of Lancashire’s leading business awards which holds its ceremony on September 15.

Mr Raynor said: “As a business owner, any talk of higher taxes on businesses to pay for politically-motivated spending has to end and we have to get back to the job of creating conditions for growth.

“The service sector which I operate in is one which provides a huge number of jobs which pays mortgages and puts food on the table for millions of people across this country, it is not something which should be put at risk for the sake of political posturing.

“There are issues which hold every sector back today and prevent businesses from doing what businesses do best – innovating, growing and creating more prosperity for all.”

Almost 250 businesses from across Lancashire, employing more than 15,000 people, were surveyed as part of the Quarterly Economic Survey conducted by the North & Western Lancashire, East Lancashire and Lancaster District Chambers of Commerce.

The survey is conducted in association with Moore & Smalley Chartered Accountants, which is also a sponsor of this year’s BIBAs.

The awards is expecting another sell-out crowd for its ceremony with more than 85 per cent of tickets for the event already sold.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the awards’ organisers, the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are able to guarantee two tickets for each of our finalists but many will want to come along and enjoy an evening of fantastic entertainment.

“With a little under two months remaining until the big night, I would urge anyone who wants to attend not to delay and get tickets as quick as they can to avoid disappointment.”

You can buy your tickets today by visiting http://www.thebibas.co.uk/attend/buy-tickets