Chancellor hails investment in port

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne meets Emma Hermon and Graham Bailey, of Pilling, who hope to buy their rented home under the Conservative's right to buy scheme. Pictured left to right are Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw, Emma Hermon, George Osborne MP and Graham Bailey.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne meets Emma Hermon and Graham Bailey, of Pilling, who hope to buy their rented home under the Conservative's right to buy scheme. Pictured left to right are Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw, Emma Hermon, George Osborne MP and Graham Bailey.

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Chancellor George Osborne has hailed investment in Fleetwood which he says is providing a massive boost for the town’s future.

On the campaign trail in rural Pilling yesterday ahead of May 7’s General Election, Mr Osborne claimed a plan for working people had been set out and promised a positive 
vision for constituents in Fleetwood and Lancaster.

Visiting the Pilling home of Graham Bailey and Emma Hermon, who have rented their home from a housing association for the past six years, Mr Osborne was keen to speak to them about the Conservatives’ right-to-buy scheme.

Launched as part of the party’s election manifesto, the scheme is aimed at giving people renting from housing associations the right to buy their home.

He said: “We have set out a plan for working people of Fleetwood, Lancashire and the country.

“Over the last five years in Fleetwood, unemployment is down by half, we have the fishpark, new sea defences and planned improvements to the roads which (constituency candidate) Eric Ollerenshaw has fought hard for.

“This is a bedrock of investment. In Emma and Graham’s situation, they are desperate to buy their home and our plan means they will be able to do that. We are also doubling the amount of childcare which will help the economy and bring real opportunities.”

Ms Hermon said she felt the Conservative right-to-buy policy was a “very positive” move.

The scheme would see housing association tenants take up a discount on buying a housing association property that will be capped at £102,700 in London and £77,000 for the rest of England.

A requirement of the scheme will be that councils must sell their most valuable 210,000 properties from 
their remaining housing stock.

Speaking about current fishing regulations which mean that Fleetwood fishermen are struggling with just six per cent of the fishing quota in England, Mr Osborne said the existing rules were unfair, although some changes have already been made.

He said: “We’ve ended the discarding of fish which was just crazy and looking to the future, the fishpark is a very visible sign of our commitment to the area.

“We have got to change the way the fishing policy works but a commitment to a referendum (in Europe) is needed.

“Five years ago in Fleetwood there was a lack of investment but now jobs have been created.”

The Lancaster and Fleetwood seat is being contested by Mr Ollerenshaw (Cons), Matthew Atkins (UKIP), Chris Coates (Green), Harold Elletson (Ind),Robin Long (Lib Dem), and Catherine Smith (Lab).

“When it was first mooted that money was available for an investment in the fishpark, Mr Osborne had already been there and knew about the area.

“That is what really helps me.

“The money for the fishpark is there and I feel entirely positive about it.”

Emma Hermon added: “It was very positive for us and this now gives us the opportunity to buy our house.

“We will start saving as soon as possible to get a deposit.”