THE Chancellor of the Exchequer, MP George Osborne, has praised the success of a partnership which led to more than 70 unemployed people getting jobs.

Following the opening of a new Waitrose supermarket in Northwich in November, groups including Cheshire West and Chester Council, Job Centre Plus, Mid Cheshire College, Weaver Vale Housing Trust, Groundwork and the Citizens Advice Bureau, worked with the firm to recruit unemployed people to fill 151 new posts.

As a result more than 45 per cent of the posts were given to unemployed people, while another 18.5 per cent were offered to people who were working less than 16 hours per week.

Mr Osborne visited Waitrose this morning as part of a visit to Northwich, during which he also gave his seal of approval to a £15 million regeneration scheme which will provide a further boost for the town.

The Memorial Court entertainment and leisure centre will incorporate a 400-seat theatre venue, a dance studio, a six-lane 25-metre pool, gym and spa and an outdoor cafe space overlooking the River Dane.

Northwich Guardian: Chancellor praises jobs partnership and regeneration during visit to Northwich

The Cheshire West and Chester Council-backed scheme is due to be completed by the spring of 2015.

“As both Chancellor and as a local MP I am delighted to see schemes like this in Northwich provide such good results, which give a boost to individuals and the town as a whole,” said Mr Osborne.

“The fact that nearly half the 151 new jobs went to previously unemployed people means there are now more people earning a regular pay packet to help secure a better financial future for themselves and their families.

“It was also good to see the regeneration going with the Memorial Court entertainment centre and leisure centre, which I know will be a great addition to the town once complete.

“It is clear the new centre will provide a real economic boost in terms of any jobs created during and after the work and then by attracting more people to Northwich to use the facilities.”

Today’s visit by Mr Osborne also included a visit to Roberts Bakery, where The Chancellor is due to be shown the secrets of its success and plans for expansion.