CHANCELLOR George Osborne today said the electorate in Eastleigh would “understand” the difficult situation the government was in despite being faced with hundreds of job losses in the area.

Answering questions during a visit to a cable firm in the town, Mr Osborne acknowledged the planned closure of the Ford factory but insisted the Conservative policies were turning things around.

Speaking alongside party hopeful Maria Hutchings who is vying for the Eastleigh seat in the upcoming by-election, Mr Osborne was asked what he would say to voters who thought the government could not be trusted to stop jobs going abroad.

He said: “I think people here will under stand we inherited a very tough economic situation from the last government we are turning that around, you see jobs coming to this area as well.

“Here we are in a factory that has employed 60 people in the last few months.

“And you also see stores like Next moving into the town.

“So this government is dealing with those problems we are on the right track and it would be a great mistake to turn back.

“Coming to places like this gives me enormous confidence in the local economy.”

Mr Osborne made the comments whilst visiting the Prysmian firm in Eastleigh which employs 700 people and manufactures cables.

He was also asked about the controversial plans to build in excess of 900 homes in and around Botley, on which he said that it was vital for the community’s views to be heard.

The plans have provoked widespread protest with public marches and demonstrations. In the face of that opposition Mr Osborne was asked whether jobs and housing needs would take priority over the views of the local people.

He said: “We are all in favour of the right houses in the right areas what we are not in favour of is the wrong houses in the wrong areas “And what we want is local people to have their say in the matter and that is precisely what Maria has been campaigning on, it is an example of how connected she is with local issues.

We think that the plans mean that some of the homes are I the wrong areas and that has been what Maria has been campaigning on.

“What takes priority is making sure these houses are in the right area and the local people have a say in about where housing goes. The local community wants to see homes built in the right areas and not inappropriate ones.

Mr Osborne also gave a ringing endorsement of Mrs Hutchings as the Tory candidate, saying: “We are fighting to win. She is a strong local voice for Eastleigh.”

More stories from the Eastleigh by-election: