Cadbury announces Investment into Bourneville Factory

Posted on 26 January, 2014 by Kirsten Kennedy

Cadbury has this week announced a £75 million investment into its Bourneville headquarters. The Bournville plant has been the home of Cadbury’s since 1879, when company founders George and Richard Cadbury moved all manufacturing from the centre of Birmingham and built 313 homes for factory workers on the site. Since then, the factory has continued to grow and at present is the workplace for about 960 workers, although this figure is expected to increase as part of the latest investment.

Minister for Business and Enterprise Michael Fallon meets Cadbury workers at Bournville

Minister for Business and Enterprise Michael Fallon meets Cadbury workers at Bournville

The money will be released over three years and will secure the future of the site as well as allowing for the construction of four new production lines. In part, this will involve upgrading outdated machinery, allowing Cadbury to compete with key rivals.

Trade union Unite welcomed the news of the investment, but said that it is too early to tell the impact it will have upon the number of workers employed at the site. However, Unite regional industrial officer Joe Clarke emphasised that the site improvements are “desperately needed.”

He said; “Some of the plant and equipment is more than 30 years old and we haven’t been able to compete with other manufacturers within the group.

“At least we’ve got an opportunity to secure the future of the site.”

Mr Clarke also compared the investment to that of Jaguar Land Rover, another manufacturing firm which has contributed hugely to local income and employment in the Midlands. The motor vehicle manufacturer recently announced a lift in production levels as a result of its ongoing investments – something which Mr Clarke hopes will be the case in Bourneville.

As well as being Cadbury’s major source of production, the Bourneville factory is also home to the chocolatier’s chocolate research and development site responsible for the creation of new chocolate bars. Although a spokesman for parent company Mondelez claimed it was “difficult to say” whether the latest scheme would lead to the launch of new products, he was prepared to confirm that Cadbury will be “looking to grow manufacturing volumes and to have the capabilities to introduce new products.”

The news was also welcomed by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, calling the investment a “seminal moment” for Bourneville. With the Midlands one of the key areas in the country for manufacturing growth, it is hoped that increasing numbers of highly skilled workers will be attracted to the region and therefore contribute towards the strengthening of the local economy.

President Tim Pile said; “Like other parts of British manufacturing there is a productivity gap in Bourneville that needs closing in order for Bourneville to compete with the best in the world.”

Why do you think the Midlands is so attractive to manufacturing firms – is it the location and infrastructure, the availability of affordable industrial property or the skilled workforce?

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