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Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, 2012/08/07 - Chancellor George Osborne was in West Yorkshire yesterday (6 August) to witness firsthand the high calibre of UK manufacturing based in the Calder Valley.
Invited by local MP Craig Whittaker, the Chancellor toured two leading-edge companies in Elland which between them have invested £12 million in their businesses, protecting over 100 jobs and creating a wealth of future employment opportunities.
He officially opened KT Hydraulics’ £2m state-of-the-art factory before going on to visit Decorative Panels whose £10m facility, one of the most advanced in Europe, was opened by Craig Whittaker in June.
Speaking at the opening of KT Hydraulics, Chancellor George Osborne said: “I was delighted to be invited to visit these businesses by Craig, and was incredibly impressed with the facilities that lie in the heart of the Calder Valley. These businesses are succeeding, expanding and trading around the world, which is something the entire region should be proud of.”
Craig Whittaker MP praised both companies’ significant contribution to establishing the Calder Valley as one of the strongest advanced manufacturing and engineering hubs in the North, employing as it does a fifth of the local population.
Craig commented: “The Chancellor’s visit to West Yorkshire reflects the strength and depth of our manufacturing base and what the Calder Valley has to offer. He was left in no doubt about the excellence and innovation that exists across our businesses and their role in helping to drive and grow the economy.
“Local businesses are committed to delivering high quality products and services and they should be applauded for their investment, particularly in jobs which are needed to support the local economy and enable it to thrive.”
Speaking about the opportunity to host Craig and the chancellor, KT Hydraulics’ managing director Richard Ellis said: “We hear much about the struggles facing UK manufacturers, but we can’t report that trend here. Our customers are investing greatly in our engineering expertise, hence our expansion, and for us the future looks bright.”
Decorative Panels’ chairman Steve Gaunt and group managing director Guy Metcalfe commented that: “Since moving to our new site we have increased our capacity by 100% and are now able to produce over 600,000 panels per week. After officially opening this state-of the-art facility in June, Craig was keen to showcase our manufacturing investment on a national scale, and we are delighted that the Chancellor accepted our invitation to attend.”
Following the factory tours, the Chancellor joined an invited audience of business leaders and Conservative Party co-chairman Baroness Warsi for lunch at Decorative Panels, before taking part in a manufacturing-led Q&A with the business guests.
Craig added: “A range of issues were covered in the Q&A and it gave the Chancellor a real flavour of the region’s manufacturing pride and prowess when it comes to competing on a global stage.”
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