Press release

£45 million injection for Midlands automotive sector to create 3,000 skilled jobs

Government to invest £35 million to help thriving £70 billion automotive sector and create highly-skilled automotive and advanced manufacturing jobs.

An expanded automotive business zone in Whitley, near Coventry, is set to become home to nearly 3,000 highly-skilled engineering and advanced manufacturing jobs, following £35 million in government investment, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark announced today (1 September 2016).

The new 24-hectare site, known as the Whitley South Infrastructure Project, will open up new growth opportunities for local manufacturers and businesses in the supply chain, creating highly-skilled engineering and advanced manufacturing jobs. It is expected businesses will be on site and hiring from 2017 to 2018.

The site is being developed with support from Coventry and Warwickshire LEP (CWLEP), Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council, who have secured further local contributions of £10 million to secure the project.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

Our world-class auto sector is leading the way and this new development will create thousands more skilled jobs. It shows how private and public sector can work together to make a difference to the economy.

That’s why every member of my ministerial team has been appointed as a local growth champion, to work with local enterprise partnerships like CWLEP to support key opportunities and increase prosperity.

The new funding will also help improve local industrial transport links, connecting the site up with the A45, and constructing a new bridge to join the new development with an existing Jaguar Land Rover engineering centre.

To coincide with the announcement, CWLEP has also announced it will publish its refreshed Strategic Economic Plan today, which includes ‘Unlocking our Growth Potential’ and ‘Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering’ as its core priorities, as well as underlining the importance of funding the Whitley South Infrastructure Project.

Speaking ahead of a visit to Coventry-based advanced manufacturing company AMT Expert, Business Minister Margot James said:

The resurgence of advanced manufacturing and the automotive industry in the West Midlands is a real success story.

It’s vital we maintain this momentum and keep creating high-skilled jobs and don’t let any opportunity slip through our fingers. Today’s £35 million investment unlocks land that will help to cement the region as a leading destination for investment.

Jonathan Browning, chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said:

This is very good news for Coventry and Warwickshire and allows us to further build on the success that has been achieved by our advanced manufacturing sector.

The CWLEP and its partners have worked hard over several years to help ensure the sector can fulfil its potential - including improvements in infrastructure, skills and the supply chain. That work and our overall vision which is set out in the updated Strategic Economic Plan has been well supported by central government, our local authorities and the private sector who all understand our vision for the economy of Coventry and Warwickshire. I would especially like to pay tribute to Lord Bhattacharyya for his unceasing work and support of this important work.

This announcement is another major step in helping drive forward our economy and again will help stimulate development and growth in key areas.

Strong growth in the West Midlands has resulted in an acute shortage of land for the private sector to develop, and has limited future job opportunities. Over 15,000 people are employed in the advanced manufacturing sector in the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP area.

Notes to editors

  1. It is estimated that the Whitley South Infrastructure Project will lead to 2,710 highly-skilled engineering and manufacturing jobs for automotive firms, including JLR, based at the site.
  2. Planning permission has already been secured for the new 24-hectare site.
  3. JLR has further stated it will take on 125 apprentices, and create a further 250 support staff roles, on moving into the site.
  4. Central government investment of £35 million has been paid to Coventry Council and work will start in the next few months.
  5. Funding from local sources, including Coventry City Council, totals £10.5 million.
  6. According to the most recent statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents the automotive sector, the UK automotive industry accounts for more than £71.6 billion turnover and £18.9 billion value added.