Planning Minister Nick Boles visited Hargreaves Foundry, Halifax, to show his support for Conservative PPC Philip Allott.
Mr Boles took a tour of the foundry which produces a range of cast iron works to order including statues by Angel of the North sculptor Antony Gormley.
He said: “What’s wonderful about this place is that you’re combining a great set of traditional manufacturing skills to produce some of the most valuable and most beautiful products you can imagine - the Antony Gormley sculptures and the House of Commons gutters. And you’re shipping stuff in from China, packaging it up with things you make yourself and ship them on to builders’ merchants.
“It’s that ability to combine different sources of revenue that creates a business that actually can prosper.”
He said the coalition had supported businesses like Hargreaves by making it easier for firms to export, but said there were no plans to give VAT relief to businesses working older properties.
“It is a real big problem,” he said. “If you’re building a new property you’re not paying VAT, but if you’re restoring an old building you are.
“The difficulty, bluntly, is that nobody has managed to come up with a substitute revenue for the Treasury.
“I don’t think we can promise to do this, but it is a problem we all recognise,” he said.