JCB has announced plans to invest £150 million to expand its operations in Staffordshire, creating 2,500 jobs by 2018.
The £150 million plans, which represent the single largest investment in JCB's history, include the building of a brand-new, purpose-built 220,000 square feet factory on the Harewood Industrial Estate in Cheadle to expand existing JCB Earthmovers and JCB Compact Products operations, allowing JCB Utility Products to relocate to this site from the current smaller factory in Oakamoor Road.
Welcoming the news, Cheadle town mayor councillor Ian Plant said: "It is very good news, especially if the Oakamoor Road facility is relocated, should the plans be approved, as currently there is a lot of traffic congestion there caused mainly by vehicles accessing the JCB site and parking on the main road.
"Anything to help boost the local economy is a good thing and I hope that of the 2,500 jobs being created Cheadle will gets its fair share."
MP for Cheadle and Stone, Bill Cash added: "JCB is a truly world-beating enterprise and proper growth in the economy comes from companies like them. I very much welcome the creation of a brand-new purpose-built factory in Cheadle to expand the existing JCB Earthmovers and JCB Compact Products operations.
"With its innovation, ambition and sheer hard work, it is the kind of workforce that demonstrates we are capable of creating world-beating enterprise and we need many more companies like them."
Mark Deaville, Staffordshire County Councillor for Cheadle and Checkley said: "The news from JCB is great for this area. JCB is massively important to our local community and these additional local jobs will benefit the entire local economy.
"Of course, JCB is already a major employer in this area, but the company's exciting plans and the resulting new jobs will provide a massive boost to local shops, restaurants, pubs and other small businesses.
"It has been a really positive week for this area and the whole of Staffordshire with the Government's announcement about the A50 enhancements too creating a real "feel good factor".
This is further evidence that Staffordshire is a great place to work and a great place to live."
To mark the announcement, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Right Honourable George Osborne MP visited JCB's backhoe loader factory in Rocester.
The visit followed the delivery of his Autumn Statement, in which he committed Government funding to unlock economic growth in Staffordshire with a major road improvement project on the A50 trunk road in Uttoxeter.
JCB chairman Lord Bamford confirmed the five-year investment plans for Staffordshire as part of a wider global growth strategy to expand sales and increase market share.
He said: "The Chancellor's announcement of the major A50 road improvement project is good news for businesses in this area. It allows companies like JCB to plan ahead with confidence, knowing that the road network will not constrain business growth and future investment.
"Our plan to create 2,500 high-quality manufacturing jobs locally is clear evidence of the important link between infrastructure improvement and job creation.
"The Chancellor's decision to invest in the regional infrastructure means JCB can continue to invest locally, which is good for Staffordshire and good for Britain, especially given the wider benefits to our UK supply chain."
The plans, which will be subject to planning consent from the relevant planning authorities, also include:
· A brand-new purpose-built 350,000 square feet factory for JCB Cab Systems in Beamhurst, near Uttoxeter, to replace the current smaller facility in Rugeley and enable JCB to in-source production of cabs currently made by third party suppliers in Europe.
· Expansion of JCB's production operations in Rocester with an additional 126,000 square feet of manufacturing space to increase hydraulic cylinder production.
· Relocation of the existing JCB Finance and JCB Insurance offices in Rocester to new purpose-designed, high-quality office accommodation at nearby Harper Meadow in Denstone.
· A new in-house training facility for JCB staff, to be run in conjunction with key universities to support apprenticeship and graduate training programmes.
The projected growth in machine output from Staffordshire factories will be supported by an increase in production of components from factories elsewhere in the UK, including engines from JCB Power Systems in Foston, Derbyshire, and axles and gearboxes from JCB Transmissions in Wrexham, North Wales.
During his visit to JCB, The Chancellor met with senior company executives and was introduced to employees in the backhoe loader factory, including welding operatives in the manufacturing cells and assembly line operatives on the production line where the iconic yellow JCB diggers are assembled.
The Chancellor also met five apprentices who recently joined JCB; Adam Varley (20) from Stoke-on-Trent; Leila Worsey (17) from Hilton, Derbyshire; Sam Tooth (21) from Kingsley, Staffordshire; Jack McDonagh (17) from Branston, Staffordshire; Chris Hoye (28) from Newcastle-under-Lyme. Adam, Leila and Jack have joined JCB from the acclaimed JCB Academy for 14–19 year olds, located in nearby Rocester.
Mr Osborne concluded his visit with a speech to employees, congratulating them on reaching a key milestone in JCB's history by selling its one millionth machine during 2013. Over half a million of these were backhoe loaders, which celebrates its 60th birthday this year. He also welcomed JCB's commitment to a programme of further investment in the UK and is expected to pledge Government support to help drive business and economic growth in the regions through investment in infrastructure projects, such as the A50 scheme which will benefit many businesses in Staffordshire and Derbyshire.