THE continued success of the Airbus plant in Broughton is a key Government priority, according to George Osborne.

The Chancellor met apprentices and staff when he visited the wing-making site on Thursday.

“We are very committed to the success of Airbus,” he said. “I was here almost exactly a year ago and said that we would be committed to the A350 – and we have delivered on that promise.

“The new coalition Government in Westminster is absolutely committed to its success and the Welsh Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly are also great supporters of Airbus.”

Mr Osborne visited Flintshire to show his support for Welsh Assembly candidates ahead of the election on May 5.

He was joined by Alyn and Deeside candidate John Bell, Delyn candidate Matt Wight and regional candidates Mark Isherwood and Antoinette Sandbach on a tour of the West Factory.

Mr Osborne expressed concern that during the past 10 years Wales had become ‘poorer’.

He said: “Under Labour Wales hasn’t done as well as England and Scotland, and that’s a real tragedy.

“There are higher rates of unemployment and poorer results in education.

“We want to change that and turn it around to make sure Wales is a success story going forward.”

Helping smaller businesses is also on the Conservative agenda, said Mr Osborne.

He said the Welsh Conservatives have a specific policy where businesses with a rateable value of up to £12,000 would not pay any business rates.

“I think it is a great policy to help smaller businesses in town centres across Flintshire and elsewhere,” said Mr Osborne.

The Chancellor said the policy is designed to help small businesses ride out the economic downturn and encourage start-ups by giving people the confidence to invest.

He claims that since the coalition Government was formed almost a year ago it has helped North Wales.

“We have supported the A350 at Airbus and the extension of broadband into rural parts of North Wales, which is vital to make sure that these areas are connected,” he said.

“North Wales is part of a wider UK economy and just one year ago this economy was a mess.

“Over the last 12 months we have turned it around. It has been hard work and we have had to make some tough decisions.

“The future for Wales and the UK is more promising and the economy is more stable, which can help us grow large businesses like Airbus and smaller businesses.”