A CAFE owner turned down a visit from the chancellor of the exchequer — because she was too busy with her regular customers.

Amanda Biggs, owner of the Thyme Deli and Cafe in Horwich, was asked if she would host George Osborne on his whistlestop tour of the town today.

But she refused the invitation the day before the chancellor’s visit — because she did not want to lose out on the busy lunchtime rush or upset her regular customers.

An aide to Mr Osborne said that the chancellor understood the decision and that he will "definitely" try out the cafe on his next visit to the town.

Ms Biggs said: “They initially just told me it was a senior figure but didn’t tell me it was George Osborne.

"Even if they had it wouldn’t have made any difference.

"I had to tell them no because they wanted to reserve seating for 10 people at our busiest time.

“As a local business I didn’t want to tell my regular customers that they couldn’t come in because that wouldn’t be fair and wouldn’t be good for business.”

She stressed her decision had “absolutely nothing to do with politics”.

Ms Biggs added: “This was purely a business decision. If Mr Osborne had wanted to come and speak to me about my shop at a later time then that would have been fine — this wasn’t politically motivated and it certainly wasn’t a PR stunt for the shop.

“This is the same decision I would make every time.”


Mr Osborne visited businesses in Winter Hey Lane to find out how the town’s economy is doing and to give his backing to Chris Green, the Conservative candidate for Bolton West at next year’s general election.

Despite not being able to stop for a coffee at Thyme Deli, the Tatton MP and his group called into Cafe Latte and Home Bakery.

Diane Farrimond, aged 50, who works in the shop, said: “We didn’t actually get to sit down with him because we were so busy running around serving people.

“I do think it is good that these politicians are visiting us. They should do it more but if I’m honest I don’t think his government is helping us.”

Mr Osborne also called into J Greeley Butchers.

Owner Duncan Greeley said: “I wasn’t star struck or anything - the chancellor is just a title — it makes no difference to me.

“Things are very tough for businesses like mine at the moment.”

An aide to the chancellor said: “We totally understand that because they are so busy at lunchtime they couldn't take a reservation for a meeting with local businesses.

"Next time George is in Bolton he will definitely try it out. He is on the side of all hardworking people who are running their own business."