CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer George Osborne took questions from business leaders on issues affecting them during a visit to Wirral.

He emphasised the role local businesses can play in continuing to help the economy grow during a 20-minute speech at The Wro in West Kirby, as part in an event organised by Wirral Chamber Of Commerce.

Afterwards he took questions from chamber members on topics such as VAT cuts, effects of business rates, subsidies for offshore renewables, housing markets and house prices, and the opportunities which could arise from the development of shale gas projects.

He also asked delegates to think about export opportunities, indicating that these developing marketplaces can be the future of the British economy.

The visit was arranged by the chamber's honorary president, Wirral West MP and minister for employment, Esther McVey.

She said afterwards: "I was delighted to bring the chancellor to Wirral to meet with many of our business leaders.

"We have a fantastic array of businesses - large and small - from Cammell Laird, Heap and Partners, The Contact Company, Bibby Line, Boodles to Linghams Book Shop and Concept Mortgages, to name just a few.

"He met them all to hear their views. It is vital that our local businesses are heard and are linked into the heart of Westminster decision-making.

“By listening to the business community, this Government has helped create the right conditions to allow businesses to grow, resulting since 2010 in the creation of a record number of jobs, two million, that's more people with a pay packet each month and being able to provide for their families.”

Paula Basnett, chief executive of Wirral Chamber of Commerce, said: "It was a great opportunity for us to listen and discuss issues affecting both economic growth and business on a day-to-day basis.

"it was clear that there is a growing business confidence but they still need Government to help and back them in key support areas.

“I would like to think that when he left Mr Osborne took with him a positive message from our members that Wirral is a centre of business excellence”