Chancellor George Osborne visited the High Peak this morning (Saturday), where he praised a Chapel-en-le-Frith company as well as throwing his support behind local MP Andrew Bingham’s campaign for re-election.
Mr Osborne visited Street Crane, the largest crane and hoist manufacturer in the UK, where he met with senior members of the company and staff and also enjoyed a tour around the factory.
Afterwards, he gave a short speech to the gathered Conservative supporters.
He said: “This couldn’t be a better place to launch this campaign because if you look at this company, it is a microcosm of what is happening to the British economy.
“Five years ago, here was a company that was looking to expand, looking to grow but wondering whether the economy would be able to support it, whether there was going to be that economic security to make investments in a big factory like this.
“Five years later they’ve opened this big facility, 25 per cent more people employed here, exporting all round the world, to the other side of the world as well and that is what we want to see more of in our economy.”
Speaking about Andrew Bingham, he said: “You have a brilliant Member of Parliament in Andrew Bingham. He has fought for this area, he’s fought to bring the jobs into this area, he has fought to bring the broadband into this area. He has made sure that that Glossop spur was on the map when we were handing out money for new road schemes.”
He added: “This would not be happening if it weren’t for Andrew. He campaigned for this, he made sure it was seen by those who are going to make the decisions in Whitehall, he put it on the map and as a result £170 million is coming into that road scheme. The traffic around Glossop has been terrible because we haven’t had the road scheme and that’s the kind of investment you can afford if you’ve got a growing economy and you’ve got a strong economic recovery.”
On the issue of housing, which has been particularly controversial in the High Peak in the absence of a local plan, he said: “Of course we want homes for people and we want to help people who can’t currently afford a home to buy their first home and that’s what things like our help to buy scheme and our help to buy ISA are all about but those homes need to be in the right place particularly in a beautiful part of the countryside like this and what I find very depressing is the incompetence of the local labour council.
“They’ve had years to get a plan put together and they’ve not been able to do that. Lots of other councils around the country have so its not like others haven’t been able to get their act together but the local labour council haven’t got their act together and local people are paying the price for that.”
This couldn’t be a better place to launch this campaign because if you look at this company, it is a microcosm of what is happening to the British economy.Chancellor George Osborne
But Caitlin Bisknell, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for the High Peak, has hit back at Mr Osborne, and said: “Before criticising Labour-led High Peak’s local plan – he should take a look in his backyard and at the record of the former Tory administration in High Peak who spent four fruitless years trying to develop a joint plan with Derbyshire Dales.
“Three years ago Labour High Peak decided go it alone and to produce its own local plan which is now being considered by the Planning Inspectorate following the public enquiry.
“Meanwhile Mr Osborne’s own Cheshire East Council and Derbyshire Dales, the local authority of his cabinet colleague Patrick McLoughlin have been sent away to do more work and had their plans suspended by the Planning Inspectorate.”