Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer visits Chichester: Here's what he had to say about our high streets

The Chancellor of the Exchequer visited Chichester today for a tour of a local independent business and was quizzed on the future of the high street.

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 6:05 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd November 2019, 6:07 pm
From left: Rupert Green, Sajid Javid, Gillian Keegan, Andrew Griffiths, Henry Green

Sajid Javid arrived via the busy A27 for a walk around family-run business Covers Timber and Builders Merchants in Quarry Lane this afternoon (Friday November 22.)

He was joined by prospective parliamentary candidates Gillian Keegan for Chichester and Andrew Griffiths for Arundel and South Downs.

The trio were given a tour around the premises of the business which started in Chichester in 1846. Mr Javid describe the company as a 'fantastic local business' and one which he would want to see 'thrive'.

Sajid Javid being show some of the wood sold at Covers

The Observer quizzed Mr Javid on what the Conservatives would be doing to help our high streets as this newspaper continues its campaign to support local businesses.

He said: "We have already started doing a lot. First of all with business rates and we have set out some new proposals just last week.

"We are going to extend and make even more generous the discount that we have for high street retail businesses.

"Fifty per cent discount of business rates for the businesses on the typical high street.

"We are going to extend that to pubs as well which I think are a very important part of the high street and our communities but also most importantly, I think to keep our high streets thriving we need to keep our economy strong so we can have funds like the towns fund that we have which is a £3.5billion fund much of it supporting high streets

"The way we keep our economy strong is by re-electing a Conservative government and removing the uncertainty that exists, you know, getting Brexit done, focusing on the people's priorities and keeping the economy strong."

Mr Javid also spoke about an 'infrastructure revolution' which he said would cover a multitude of industries spanning the country.

Henry Green, managing director of Covers, said: "We are very privileged too welcome the chancellor today and pleased to have the opportunity to highlight the importance of family-run independent businesses.

"We are also happy to give him an insight into the economic climate in the construction industry."

The business is entirely owned by the Green family and has a turnover of £81million.

On the visit, Rupert Green, the company's chairman, said: "It was exciting. We got told two days ago that he would be coming. We quickly thought about whether it might be good."

As an apolitical firm, the owners we unsure if the visit was a good idea, but Rupert said: "The chance is never going to come again."

He also raised concerns about the A27 as it affects the businesses in the area as well as customers.

The company employs the equivalent of 410 people full time — 184 of which are in Chichester. has also recently invested £3million in a depot in Southampton.