CHANCELLOR George Osborne has personally thanked JCB workers for ‘helping Britain move forward’ after the firm announced 2,500 new jobs would be created in and around Uttoxeter.
Addressing workers at the digger giant’s World Headquarters in Rocester, Mr Osborne also paid tribute to Uttoxeter MP Andrew Griffiths for his work in securing ‘vital’ improvements to the A50 near town.
Work on the Derby Road and McDonalds roundabouts was announced days before JCB revealed plans to replace its Rugeley Cab Systems factory with a new facility in Beamhurst.
The new factory, along with an expansion to facilities including the World Headquarters and a new Utility Products site in Cheadle, will create thousands of jobs near town.
Mr Osborne said: “It’s great to be here at this great British company to announce some good news – 2,500 new jobs that have been created are a huge vote of confidence from this company in the UK and shows a really strong partnership.
“Andrew Griffiths came to me and said we’ve got to do something about the A50 and, if JCB can see an improvement, they can expand business and ensure jobs are created.
“We’re trying to make this country a place where the manufacturing industry can expand and make it their home.
“The economy is now growing, with thousands of jobs and houses created, but the job isn’t done yet.
“We want more successful companies like this and growth and jobs everywhere, not just in London. We don’t want to put all our bets in the capital.
“You’re a big part of our plan and now Britain is moving forward – thanks to you.”
It is thought that, for every job JCB creates, three will emerge in its UK supply chain, leading to predictions of 7,500 roles across the country by 2018.
The 350,000 sq ft Beamhurst facility will employ those currently working in the smaller Rugeley hub and create new jobs for East Staffordshire workers.
The larger facility will also allow JCB to produce cabs currently sourced from firms in Europe, saving on shipping costs and creating yet more jobs.
The World Headquarters will be given an extra 126,000 sq ft of manufacturing space to increase hydraulic cylinder production.
Finance and insurance workers based in Rocester will be moved to new offices at Harper Meadow, Denstone.
JCB’s Cheadle-based Utility Products site will relocate to the town’s existing smaller factory when a new 220,000 sq ft facility moves into the Harewood Industrial Estate.
The new building will see the expansion of JCB Earthmovers and Compact Products operations.
A new in-house training facility for JCB staff, run in conjunction with ‘key universities’ will support apprenticeship and graduate training programmes.
Andrew Griffiths said: “This is a huge boost for the economy in Uttoxeter and is a great way to improve confidence that Uttoxeter’s a great place to do business.
“The exciting growth and expansion plans unlocked by the A50 improvements will come as very exciting news for everyone in Uttoxeter.
“The hope is that they’ll break ground next year and it’s a very efficient consultation, although there aren’t any details as yet as to arrangements while the work is taking place.
“Everyone whose waited in Alton Towers traffic for hours knows how much of a benefit this will bring to motorists but it’ll also have a wonderful effect on business.”