Sep 22 2011 By Lorely Burt
YOU might have seen the announcement this week that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is to invest £355m in a new engine plant at the i54 industrial site north of Wolverhampton.
The Government has put £10m towards it, which may seem a small amount in the grand scheme of things, but it demonstrates the commitment we have to promote manufacturing in the West Midlands.
JLR will create 750 direct jobs, but the total number of jobs for our region throughout the supply chain will stretch into the thousands.
You may be wondering why I am excited about a jobs announcement on the other side of Birmingham? Well, there are two reasons.
Firstly, it demonstrates the Government’s commitment to rebalancing our economy – away from the financial sector – and towards actually making things.
That’s something we are very good at in the West Midlands.
The £10m of Government money was the clincher that meant Tata, the company that owns JLR, decided to build their plant here, rather than in India.
It sends a very clear message to industry that the West Midlands is open for business, and that we’ve got the skills and infrastructure to support anyone who wants to move their business here.
The second reason I’m excited is for the future of our JLR plant here in Solihull.
It was touch and go 18 months ago whether we would get the investment to keep the plant open.
But we did, and soon we will have plants in Solihull, Castle Bromwich, Wolverhampton, and Halewood.
Jaguar Land Rover are putting their money where their mouth is, and saying, in the most practical way possible: “We’re in it for the long haul in the West Midlands.”