George Osborne
Several marginal constituencies are benefiting from George Osborne's Autumn Statement 2014 Reuters

With the polls so close between the Conservatives and Labour just months before the general election in May 2015, marginal seats mean everything.

It's likely to be a bruising political fight for every last vote akin to the violent scramble for Asda's last flatscreen TV on Black Friday.

Labour has the advantage of not being in power, which means they can heap blame for the country's economic and social ills on the Conservative-led coalition government.

On the other hand, the coalition has the advantage of being in power. It can parade what it's doing in and around the marginal constituencies.

The cynically-minded might even accuse it of targeting public resources at them in the Autumn Statement 2014.

So what exactly has Tory Chancellor George Osborne been cooking up around some of the most marginal constituencies ahead of the election?

Oxford West & Abingdon

Tory Nicola Blackwood won this seat in 2010 from the Liberal Democrats, but she only scraped a precarious 176 majority. She heads into the 2015 election with a number of gifts to offer from Osborne to her constituents. There's £42m being pumped into local flood defences, £50m for improving the congested A34, and the announcement that neighbouring Bicester will host a new Garden City with 13,000 homes being built. What's more, Oxford will house a satellite hub of the new £235m Sir Henry Royce Institute for advanced materials research and innovation based in Manchester.


Conservative Matthew Offord is the incumbent MP with a slim 106 majority over Labour. So he will welcome the Graeme Park housing estate news. It has been approved for £56m funding from a £150m pot for regeneration. Around 3,000 new homes will be built under the scheme.

Great Grimsby

Labour's Austin Mitchell holds a narrow 714 majority over the Conservatives in Great Grimsby. The Tory candidate has just been given a boost – Osborne is putting £80m into flood defences on the Humber Estuary.

Wirral South

Alison McGovern is the Labour MP with a small majority of 531 over the Conservatives. Money is flowing in to the Liverpool area from the Treasury for road improvements, such as upgrading the A5036 which links the city's ports to the motorway and a £300m investment in linking Liverpool Port to Ellesmere Port. Liverpool will also host a satellite hub of the £235m Sir Henry Royce Institute.

Southampton Itchen

John Denham is Labour's MP for Southampton Itchen, but he only has a majority of 192 over the Conservatives. Under the government's planned £15bn investment in UK roads, money will go to improving the M27 around Southampton as well as the freight link connecting the city's port and the Midlands.

Derby North

Labour's Chris Williamson holds the Derby North seat with a majority of just 613 over the Conservatives in second. Osborne is extending an existing Enterprise Zone in Nottingham to a site in Derby, upgrading the M1 and A38 roads around the city, and giving it access to the Broadband Connection Vouchers Scheme to help local businesses get superfast internet.