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Every Lidl helps: George Osborne pops to the shops in Chessington
Chancellor George Osborne has said he shops at Lidl, and that if Kingston Council wants more revenue for services, it must attract more businesses to the borough.
Visiting Lidl in Leatherhead Road, Chessington, to announce the chain's new jobs plan, Mr Osborne said that in Downing Street Waitrose delivers his groceries, but that he does use a Lidl in his Tatton constituency.
Mr Osborne inspects a lettuce alongside Lidl's UK managing director Ronny Gottschlich
Asked whether the success he claimed for the government's economic strategy would mean a loosening of the purse strings - and more cash for Kingston - he said: "We've still got to deal with the deficit.
"Part of our long-term economic plan is to make sure Britain can pay its way.
"We've said to councils, 'If you can create more jobs locally [and] bring businesses into the area then you will share in some of the extra revenue.'
"[Kingston Conservatives] want to bring businesses into the town centre, make sure there's more jobs here, and that will benefit local residents.
"There will be more money going into the local council for council services.
"Seeing what they're doing here with the new leadership is great."
Last year the Government introduced a policy of letting councils keep a share of business rates and other revenue, with the aim of promoting economic growth.
Lidl's move to create 2,500 new full-time jobs will see between six and eight come to the Chessington store, according to UK managing director Ronny Gottschlich.
None of the posts will use the controversial zero-hours system, he said.
He added: "We don't have any zero-hours contracts in our business. These are full-time jobs."
Mr Osborne with Conservative Parliamentary candidate James Berry and store manager Sunim Miah
Chessington store manager Sunim Miah said the Chancellor's visit was "very exciting". He added: "It's the first time we've had a visit like that. He saw how we do our bakery and fresh produce.
"He spoke to most of the staff as he was walking around. Whoever he bumped into."
Mr Osborne was shepherded around the supermarket before journalists were herded into the staff room for quick-fire questioning.
As he was leaving Mr Osborne said he had "nothing to say" on whether senior politicians should be given training on avoiding prejudice to court trials, following criticism of the Prime Minister by the judge in the phone hacking trial, Mr Justice Saunders.