Osborne backs simpler visas for Chinese tourists to visit the UK

CHANCELLOR George Osborne will today announce the extension of Britain’s super priority visa scheme to China, enabling wealthy tourists to receive their papers within 24 hours.

Osborne, currently on a trade mission to China, will also back the extension of the VIP visa service – which sees British officials visit Chinese businesspeople in their offices – to the whole country.

The announcement follows criticism that the UK is missing out on wealthy Chinese tourists who have to apply for a separate visa because Britain has never joined the EU’s Schengen area. But opponents warn that these reforms will only benefit the very rich.

Meanwhile, a Chinese company is among the investors in an £800m plan to regenerate the area around Manchester Airport. Beijing Construction Engineering Group will take a 20 per cent stake in the Airport City project.