RiazOsborneStephensonRiaz Ahmed — the owner and md at Lancashire manufacturer Sweet Dreams — represented the furniture industry at a Downing Street reception with Chancellor George Osborne last week.

Mr Ahmed was invited by furniture industry champion Andrew Stephenson MP, whose Pendle constituency is home to a number of the trade’s most significant suppliers.

The visit was part of the Northern Powerhouse initiative begun by Mr Osborne following a speech delivered in Manchester last June, where he talked about harnessing the strengths of the northern regions.

Beds, furniture and upholstery producer Sweet Dreams employs 250 people, has sales of around £17m, and recently invested £3m on a 56,000sqft expansion at its Burnley base.

Mr Ahmed said: “It was very kind of my MP, Andrew Stephenson, to invite me to take part in the Northern Powerhouse event. It was both illuminating and edifying.

“It’s good to see that the people who run the country are aware of the force that is northern business and gratifying when they recognise the contribution we make to the country’s economy and consult our views.”

Photograph: (l–r) Riaz Ahmed, George Osborne MP, Andrew Stephenson MP