Chancellor visit to new centre

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The Chancellor, George Osborne, visited the town centre today (Friday) to officially open a multi-million pound business centre.

Mr Osborne, together with the town’s MP Amber Rudd, met with local business representatives, at Havelock Place, a new £7 million site within the Priory Quarter central business district.

Mr Osborne welcomed the development’s first tenant Medica, handing the firm the keys to its new office.

The Chancellor also took part in a round-table discussion with business representatives, talking about the local economy and Government support for firms wanting to grow.

Havelock Place is an office development that has been built over the last 18 months. The Observer had the chance to speak to the Chancellor at the end of his visit.

He said: “I have been really impressed with the improvements in the town that have happened over the last two years.

“Everyone was telling me how difficult it was for them a few years ago. I am here to pledge our support for local businesses and to make sure there are jobs available for those with the right skills. We have got more to do and our priority is to make sure we develop these improvements.”

Mr Osborne was asked the question that has been on most people’s lips in Hastings in recent weeks: “Why did the Chancellor and Prime Minister David Cameron visit Eastbourne just days after its devastating pier fire and pledge £2 million in support when Hastings got nothing just days after the blaze on its pier in October 2010?”

In response, he said: “Hastings Pier had been closed since 2006 but it’s opening again next year, which is great news. Hastings has had almost £2 million from the Coastal Communities Fund. I am speaking with MP Amber Rudd and local businesses to see if there is more things we can do to support tourism and specific projects and if there is I am really happy to look at them.

“I want both towns to do well. It’s not about choosing between Eastbourne and Hastings.”

Ms Rudd said: “The Chancellor was impressed to hear such good news from local businesses and pledged his continued support. Rest assured I will be holding him to that.”