CHANCELLOR George Osborne has hailed Land Rover as a ‘shining example’ of what British industry can achieve.
He was speaking to David Irwin during a whistle-stop visit to the car marque’s Lode Lane plant last Thursday.
“In recent years, the Government has put all its chips on the city of London and the financial sector,” he admitted. “These are important but Britain does need to get back to manufacturing more and exporting more. There’s a lot of good news here in Solihull and a real optimism about the future. This is an example of what this country can achieve.”
During his visit, David Cameron’s right-hand man held talks with bosses, union-leaders and met some of the firm’s apprentices.
Does he think it’s important to train up more young people to work in the manufacturing sector?
“It’s crucial. JLR has a great apprenticeship programme and I think we should pay tribute to them.
“This company stuck with its workforce through difficult years and has been training up a workforce for the future.”
It had been a tough week for Mr Osborne who was forced on the defensive over his economic policy, following a slump in growth. But he seemed in buoyant mood as he toured the production line and met some of the plant’s 4600 staff.
“One of the reasons that the car industry is so important is that there are thousands of people working in the supply-chain,” he added. “We need to look at getting more support for these smaller companies over things like bank lending.”
Ralf Speth, JLR chief executive, said: “It is encouraging that the Government recognises the critical role the automotive industry plays.”