DIGGER giant JCB is creating 2,500 new jobs as part of a £150m expansion of its business.
The firm is to build a factory in Uttoxeter, replacing one at Rugeley, as well as an excavator manufacturing plant in Cheadle.
It comes as Chancellor George Osborne visits JCB’s world headquarters in Rocester today, a day after outlining his spending plans in his Autumn Statement.
Mr Osborne will congratulate JCB on reaching a key milestone in its history by selling its one millionth vehicle in 2013.
He will be shown around the JCB site in Rocester by the company's chairman Lord Bamford, a major Conservative Party donor who became a peer earlier this year.
Lord Bamford said: "The Chancellor's announcement of the major A50 road improvement project is good news for businesses in this area.
The expansion of JCB’s Staffordshire factories will also lead to an increase in production of components from its other UK sites, which include JCB Transmissions in Wrexham and JCB Power Systems in Foston, Derbyshire.
The planned expansion, which is subject to planning consent, also includes an increase in JCB's production operations in Rocester and relocation of its finance and insurance divisions in Rocester to new offices at nearby Denstone.
As well as the creation of the new jobs by 2018, there will be a new in-house training facility for JCB staff, which will be run in conjunction with universities to support apprenticeship and graduate training programmes.
Responding to JCB's announcement this morning of plans to double production and create 2,500 new jobs in Staffordshire, Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said:
“Thousands more jobs for people in Staffordshire and millions of pounds of additional investment in our county – this is tremendous news that really shows the strength and health of engineering and manufacturing in Staffordshire.
“JCB is not only a major local employer but a standard bearer for Staffordshire right around the globe, and a real British manufacturing success story.
“JCB is also Staffordshire born and bred, so it’s a company we should all be incredibly proud of. I’m delighted that our county will continue to be the world headquarters for its operations and that a number of Staffordshire factories will expand to churn out even more of its iconic yellow machines.
“Local people will benefit from more jobs at JCB sites but also thousands more jobs in the supply chain. That means more money in people’s pockets locally which will ultimately strengthen our entire local economy.
“Staffordshire County Council’s top priority is creating the right conditions for new and existing business to thrive by upgrading roads, investing in new sites and infrastructure or improving education and training, to produce a highly skilled talent pool to supply major employers. We will being working with JCB in the coming months to support the company’s expansion plans.
“And following on from the government’s announcement of a £50million investment in improving the A50 – work that the county council will deliver – it has been an excellent week for Staffordshire’s economy and future job prospects for local people.”
Rugeley MP Aidan Burley added: “Firstly I would like to congratulate JCB on their continuing success. That this world-leading Staffordshire–based company should be seeking to significantly increase sales and increase its investment in Staffordshire in the coming years is something of which we should all be proud and support.
“The company has a long relationship with Rugeley and I know that they wanted to lead that expansion from the town. Unfortunately, the type and size of premises that they needed locally was simply not available and so they had to look elsewhere in Staffordshire.
“JCB will want to retain the skills of their Rugeley workforce as they grow their business in the long-term. That is very good news. Following a meeting I held with the senior management, I have argued for support measures to be put in place for employees who may have to travel further to reach the new site, such as a fixed-term shuttle bus service.
“This investment is yet another vote of confidence in the engineering talent available in Staffordshire, following hot on the heels of the new Jaguar Land Rover plant just outside Codsall. I wish the company continuing success in showing to the world that Staffordshire really is the Creative County.”
The news comes just five months after JCB was awarded £2.9 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund as it announced the creation of 300 jobs at a new distribution centre at Chatterley Valley, near Tunstall.
The site, which will take in parts from suppliers and then distribute them around the world, is expected to be fully operational by 2015.