DAVID Cameron paid Thurrock a visit this morning to lend his support to local Conservative candidates ahead of Thursday’s elections.
The Prime Minister visited the Royal Opera House’s High House Production Park in Purfleet at around 10am, where he was shown around the world-leading production workshop and introduced to staff and apprentices.
This was Mr Cameron’s second stopover in the Borough in the last year, after visiting the DP World London Gateway Port in July.
The production park is the result of a partnership between the ROH, Thurrock Council, Arts Council England, Creative & Cultural Skills and others.
Based on a 14-acre site, High House includes a workshop, Creative & Cultural Skills’ Backstage Centre for performance production and live events and Artists’ Studios – with the aim to support an international centre of excellence for creative industries in Thurrock.
In a bid to encourage a new generation into the creative industries, High House employs a number of apprentices from across Thurrock.
Mr Cameron told the Enquirer: “High House is a really impressive centre for the cultural and creative industries and I really wanted to come and see it for myself. There are currently 1.2 million young people in apprenticeships, the target is to have two million, and I’m glad to see Essex is doing its part.
“Apprenticeships are thriving in Britain and ROH are important providers. Some really interesting developments are taking place at the moment and places like High House are the engine room of the country.
“I get to see lots of exciting things as Prime Minister but coming here is a real treat.”
Alex Beard, Chair of High House and Chief Executive of the ROH, was delighted with the high profile visit. He said: “This visit is hugely important to us, I think this is the world’s finest production workshop and we want to celebrate that. It’s great to get cross-party support too, as Harriet Harman visited us just last week. It goes to show this really is a great asset to Thurrock.”
Chief Executive of Thurrock Council, Graham Farrant, added: “High House is a real local success story, and it’s good to get recognition for the work that’s done here. If it wasn’t for this place, we wouldn’t now be talking about building a TV and film studio in Purfleet, which will bring huge benefits to the area.”
When asked about the UKIP threat in Thurrock, Mr Cameron said: “I’m campaigning positively for the Conservative party. We are better placed to keep council tax down, and as for the European elections – we’re the only party with a clear plan to sort it out.
“With the Conservatives, you get better services at a lower cost. We are concentrating on keeping front-line services and cutting back-office bureaucracy to keep council tax down – Thurrock’s Labour council have put up tax.”