£20m boost to help save 400 jobs at factory
THE first tyres have rolled off the production line at Michelin after the initial phase of a £20 million upgrade was completed.
Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk visited the French tyre giant's Stoke plant yesterday to see the results of the investment.
The modernisation project, which allows the factory to rebuild the latest generation of truck, bus and coach tyres, has secured more than 400 jobs and the future of the plant itself.
It was boosted by a £3.9 million grant from the previous Government which paved the way for further cash from the firm.
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The Michelin site in Campbell Road employs about 1,000 people.
Factory manager Sean Parry said: "Without this investment there would not have been a factory here in 13 years time, and the Government grant tipped the balance.
"It has secured jobs but what will do that in the future is our performance.
"We've got all the tools – we've got a great workforce and now we've got the machinery."
Mr Prisk said: "What has impressed me is the commitment to quality and innovation. It is a real testament to the workforce here."
He acknowledged it was the previous Government which granted Michelin cash towards the project.
But Mr Prisk added: "I don't have a problem with carrying on with good ideas, what matters is jobs, competitiveness and quality."
Mr Prisk was invited to the region by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership( LEP).
He attended a board meeting where the LEP agreed a new 12-month business plan and also visited Middleport Pottery and Alstom in Stafford.
At Middleport he heard more about the £8.5 million Prince's Regeneration Trust improvement project currently underway, while at Alstom he helped mark the firm's 50th anniversary of producing power transmission technology in Staffordshire
Mr Prisk said: "There are success stories right across the region and it is fantastic to see ambitious firms growing, creating jobs, and demonstrating that this is a great place to do business."
LEP chairman Maitland Hyslop added: "From the regeneration of a site of industrial heritage to manufacturing success and advances in the technology sector, we have been able to demonstrate projects which will make a real difference to our economy."