Manufacturing has once more become one of Britain’s largest sources of income, with the industry behind only the services sector in terms of growth and employment. This has led some of the country’s largest manufacturers to seek rapid expansion in order to keep up with demand from both domestic and overseas clients.
JCB has certainly stood out as one of the leaders in the expansion drive, channelling £150 million of funds into growing its plants and factories. This week, the industrial vehicle firm has announced the next stage in its expansion plan will see the creation of two new bases to be located in Uttoxeter and Cheadle.
A factory in Uttoxeter will replace the existing Rugeley facilities, with the larger facility better able to cope with future growth, while a new excavator manufacturing plant will be built in Cheadle – both subject to planning consent being granted. Altogether, JCB expects to see 2,500 local jobs created by 2018 as a result of this decision.
The proposed expansion has been greatly aided by terms set out by Chancellor George Osborne in his Autumn Statement. Mr Osborne allocated around £375 billion of government spending for the National Infrastructure Plan, which will see energy, communications, water and transport projects receive substantial investment – one of the key projects outlined was a major road improvement on the A50, which passes through Uttoxeter and plays a key role in JCB’s business.
JCB announced the new stage of expansion as Mr Osborne visited the firm’s world headquarters in Rocester, which will also benefit from increased funding with a view to expanding production operations on the site. He was accompanied by company chairman Lord Bamford, who became a Tory peer earlier this year.
Lord Bamford praised Mr Osborne for his commitment to improving regional infrastructure, claiming that the work to be conducted on the A50 will hugely assist businesses seeking to widen their reach.
He said; “The Chancellor’s announcement of the major A50 road improvement project is good news for businesses in this area.
“It allows companies like JCB to plan ahead with confidence, knowing that the road network will not constrain business growth and future investment.
“The Chancellor’s decision to invest in the regional infrastructure means JCB can continue to invest locally, which is good for Staffordshire and good for Britain, especially given the wider benefits to our UK supply chain.”
Of course, the new commercial properties will not simply benefit workers and skilled jobseekers in Uttoxeter and Cheadle, as demand for parts and components will have a knock-on effect throughout the country. JCB believes that production will increase greatly at its Power Systems site in Foston, Derbyshire, and at its Transmissions centre in Wrexham, for example.
With the manufacturing sector continuing to post strong results, it could well be that this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to JCB expansion in the coming years.
Do you think the A50 improvements will allow JCB to expand even more rapidly than seen already in the coming years, or will creating additional plants in other areas of the country be necessary in order to meet consumer demand?
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