Vauxhall’s Luton plant and the new Advanced Manufacturing Centre opened by Cosworth in Northampton are poised to lead an industrial renaissance in the UK, Mr Cameron said.
He spoke first on a visit to Vauxhall’s factory in Kimpton Road, where he saw at first hand how manufacture of the new Vivaro van has created 250 new jobs on a second shift at the plant to keep pace with demand.
Mr Cameron said: “I want to see an industrial renaissance in Britain, with plants like this growing.”
The Prime Minister then travelled up the M1 to Northampton to inpsect Cosworth’s new AMC. The firm has a significant role to play in UK exports and in the Northamptonshire economy, Mr Cameron told staff.
At Vauxhall, where the Vivaro van is made, Mr Cameron toured the final assembly where he fitted the front grille to a Vivaro on the line and met Luton Mayor Cllr Mohammed Farooq, who works on final assembly at the plant.
Chariman and managing director Tim Tozer said: “We are very proud that the Prime Minister chose to visit our van plant here in Luton. The government has been very supportive of the British automotive industry in recent years and was pro-active in helping to ensure that new Vauxhall Vivaro was allocated to this plant in the UK a few years ago.
“We look forward to working closely with government to ensure that the UK improves its future competitiveness as a leading manufacturing base for automotive.”
In Northampton, Mr Cameron praised the partnership between Cosworth, Northampton Borough Council, the government and the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership that has led to the new AMC, built and owned by the council and leased back to Cosworth.
“Cosworth is building an exciting future in Northampton and is the perfect example of a British manufacturing success story,” said the Prime Minister.
Cosworth already employs 175 staff at its existing facility in Northampton, from where it began operating 50 years ago. The new AMC will create an additional 70 jobs and apprenticeships. Cosworth’s apprenticeship programme, with the support of the BIS Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative, will now expand to a further 25 apprentices.
Mr. Cameron met with Cosworth staff and was introduced to the company’s successful apprenticeship scheme . He was shown round the 38,000 sq ft facility by Cosworth Group chairman Kevin Kalkhoven and chief executive Hal Reisiger. Its forward order book currently stands at £75 million.
Mr Cameron said: “Cosworth is an iconic British business which plays an important part in our country’s world-beating automotive industry. This new Advanced Manufacturing Centre, with its state-of-the-art technology and highly skilled workforce, will be an important contributor to British exports and the local economy as part of our long-term economic plan.”
Mr Kalkhoven said: “It has been a privilege to welcome the Prime Minister to Cosworth. These are exciting times for Cosworth: this year marks 50 years since Cosworth has been in Northampton and this new investment will start an important new chapter for the company.”
The facility, Cosworth’s sixth premises in Northampton, was funded by the borough council and SEMLEP. Funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government contributed the cost of the manufacturing machinery.
Council leader Cllr David Mackintosh said: “I am delighted that the Prime Minister was able to visit Northampton to take a look at this new facility.”
The new centre will also create jobs in the Cosworth supply chain, he added. “Northampton is right at the forefront of the UK’s economic recovery and we continue to do all we can to ensure it remains there.”