George Osborne: ‘There’s much more we aim to do for a better Portsmouth’

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Chancellor of the Exchequer

But it’s also the city that is the future home of the most modern navy in the world. It’s all part of securing a stronger economy for Portsmouth.

That is why I am in the city today, announcing our ambition for the Royal Navy and setting out the Conservatives’ long-term plan for the south coast. Because we want to see a south coast where communities play to their strengths on a coastline stronger than the sum of its parts.

First, we will continue to invest in infrastructure. Rail links along the coast are too slow and links into London do not compare to those from Southampton or Brighton.

The road network needs improvement – we have set out important investment in the A27 and the M27, but there is always more to do.

Second, too many young people leave education without the skills they need.

If as many children were in outstanding schools in Portsmouth as they are across the south east, it would mean over 2,000 local children in outstanding secondary schools.

So we will continue to improve education and boost skills, so that young people leave education with the skills local employers need.

Third, we will build on the unique opportunities of Portsmouth and the south coast to attract new businesses.

I am announcing today our ambition to deliver the most modern navy in the world – keeping Portsmouth as a centre of naval activity, maintaining jobs and delivering investment along the supply chain.

It’s not just about the Royal Navy. We have here the cutting edge sailing technology of Ben Ainslie Racing on the Camber, and the new traditional boat building college being built in the historic dockyard.

Local MP Penny Mordaunt and Flick Drummond, the prospective Conservative MP for Portsmouth South, are champions for Portsmouth’s businesses – and I am working with them both to make Portsmouth the place where more new businesses want to set up and grow.

We will also back the thriving tourist industry. From the historic dockyard to Southsea Castle – Portsmouth attracts millions of visitors a year.

Today I am announcing £1m to support the Royal Navy Museum and the Royal Navy Heritage Flying Trust to deliver historical projects and boost tourism.

And we will continue to make sure this important sector is growing, with more people visiting the historic coastline.

This will all help deliver the fifth part of our plan: to raise employment levels along the coast to the south east average.

Unemployment is down, but employment levels lag well behind the south east.

If employment rose to be in line with the south east average, there would be over 9,000 more people in work in Portsmouth. This is a very real prize, and we will work towards it through our plan.

This long-term economic plan has as its goal a strong south coast – from housing the most modern navy in the world to being a centre for advanced marine engineering.

We want coastal communities to play to their own strengths, and together become stronger than the sum of their parts.

It is only by working through this plan that we will build a brighter future for Portsmouth and the south coast.