Government and Airbus announce significant R&D investment

Posted on 23 Nov 2014 by Callum Bentley

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced over £240 million of new investment across the UK and 1,800 new and safeguarded jobs.

The announcement was made at the UK Investment Summit 2014 in Newport, Wales.

UK and Welsh Governments have also joined forces with leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus to announce a joint investment of more than £100 million into research, development and training which will ensure the UK continues to lead the world in aerospace.

Around £64 million of the £100 million plus investment will support research and development through the Aerospace Technology Institute on a range of projects aimed at streamlining manufacturing processes and developing new technologies.

A total of £48 million is being invested in a project at the Broughton plant in North Wales which will develop new systems and technologies for building aircraft wings.

The announcements follow a record year for investment in the UK during 2013-14 with latest UK Trade & Investment figures showing over 66,000 new jobs created or safeguarded – the highest since 2001 – and 10,000 in Wales alone.

The news comes as work begins on the first phase of a £250 million expansion at Dyson’s hi-tech facility at the Malmesbury site which will create up to 3,000 jobs.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Two months ago I hosted world leaders in Newport for the NATO Summit where we left united in purpose, with a stronger alliance, and better able to keep our people safe.

“Today’s investment summit, which will see more than 150 business leaders from international companies gather in Newport, is part of our plan to build on this legacy, attract trade and investment, and secure a brighter future for all of Britain. This investment is a vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan and the jobs it will create and safeguard in Wales and across the UK means financial security for more hardworking families.”

Wales is developing as a leading force in innovation, cyber security and research and development, attracting global brands. Toyota manufactures its hybrid engines and Airbus manufactures the wings of every A380 aircraft in Wales. It has been a record year for Welsh foreign direct investment for 2013/14 with 79 foreign direct investment projects. All this has helped make the Welsh economy worth £47 billion according to latest figures (2012).

Deals announced include:

  • Two leading international suppliers of offshore wind foundations, EEW SPC of Germany and Bladt Industries of Denmark, have announced an investment of up to £30 million for the acquisition and upgrade of the former TAG Energy facility in Teesside. The facility, which will become a key part of the European manufacturing base for the firms, is envisioned to generate up to 350 direct jobs in the local area, as well as a significant additional number of jobs in the local supply chain.
  • German manufacturer Kärcher will build its new UKHQ, Academy & Customer Experience Centre at Banbury Point. The overall investment value is £19 million over three years, creating more than 50 new jobs as well as improved facilities for UK staff and customers.
  • Automotive components manufacturer, Gestamp, has invested a further £13 million at its Fareham facility, helping to create 112 jobs by 2015.
  • Belgian-owned Pinguin Foods which produces a range of frozen vegetables, fruits and convenience food, has committed a £20 million investment into the UK after purchasing both sites it previously leased in King’s Lynn, Norfolk and Boston, Lincolnshire. This has anchored the company in the UK and safeguarded 198 jobs in King’s Lynn and 51 jobs in Boston, securing a total of 249 jobs.
  • South African insurance company, MMI Holdings, are expanding their Bristol base, opening a new 120-person facility after acquiring UK Bristol-based Fintech company, Blue Speck Financial Ltd. Around 100 new jobs will be created over the next three years with the opening of the new technology offices.
  • Cummins, a leading manufacturer of diesel engines and related components, has announced a further £10.4 million investment into its production and development facility in Darlington, County Durham, creating 66 new jobs and safeguarding 725.  £1.040 million of the investment came from an RGF grant awarded by BIS.
  • AIC Steel, the UK/Newport-based arm of international structural steel firm AIC Steel Group, has announced plans to create 40 additional jobs by December 2014.

Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb said: “Innovation and manufacturing are at the heart of the North Wales economy and Airbus is a fantastic success story for the area.

“This announcement means the company can now manufacture more of the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft wings right here in Wales.

“Companies like Airbus are key to the success of our long term economic plan – helping us rebalance the economy and creating jobs and prosperity for people in Wales.”