Chancellor George Osborne backs second Brighton mainline during visit to Harveys in Lewes

George Osborne at Harvey's Brewery, Lewes with Conservative parliamentary candidate Maria Caulfield.

George Osborne at Harvey's Brewery, Lewes with Conservative parliamentary candidate Maria Caulfield.

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The Chancellor pledged to support improvements to the A27 and a second Brighton mainline during a visit to Harveys in Lewes this week.

George Osborne was on the campaign trail with Conservative parliamentary candidate Maria Caulfield as they visited the brewery on Cliffe High Street on Tuesday April 21.

George Osborne at Harvey's Brewery, Lewes

George Osborne at Harvey's Brewery, Lewes

The Sussex Express asked Mr Osborne what the Conservatives would do to help small businesses in Sussex, including the growing Sussex wine and beer industries.

The Chancellor said: “We want to invest here in Sussex in crucial roads like the A27, which the Labour Party wants to cancel, but we want to make sure it is fit for purpose and new investment in things like the railways so we get the second Sussex mainline so we can connect with places like Newhaven.

“All these things are part of the Conservative plan to bring more jobs and investment in to the area and make sure we have greater economic opportunities in this part of the world.”

Labour has said it wants the A27 improvement works to go ahead with the exception of the bypass at Arundel.

The Government announced a £100,000 study this year into reopening of the Lewes to Uckfield line, which Lewes MP Norman Baker has said is the best way of easing pressure on the Brighton mainline.

Mr Baker, who has been campaigning for the reopening of the line for 25 years, said: “The Budget included a new £100,000 study into reopening the Lewes-Uckfield line, included as a result of my lobbying of Danny Alexander. That is where the action is. George Osborne’s words are simply a lot of pre-election hot air that means nothing.”

Mr Osborne added the Government had helped the beer industry by cutting beer duty.

Executive chairman of Harveys Hamish Elder said: “We did talk about taxation affecting the brewing industries and the plight of the pub industries.”

Mr Osborne was interested in Harveys bottle scheme, where customers bring empty bottles into the shop and receive money back. The bottles can be reused between eight and ten times.

Mr Elder added: “It is a fairly well known fact that quite a few pubs, particularly smaller community pubs, are closing fairly regularly so we requested that as much could be done as possible to help these small businesses stay in business, particularly smaller community and family run pubs.”