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Somerset’s aerospace and advanced engineering sector is to receive a welcome boost following a Government pledge to invest up to £340million in Airbus A350 XWB long-range aircraft.
The loan, announced by Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, could directly secure 1,200 jobs plus another 3,800 jobs in the UK supply chain.
Speaking of this decision, Rupert Cox, Interim CEO of inward investment body Into Somerset, said, “The investment will help preserve vital employment both directly and in the supply chain, particularly in South Somerset where there is a cluster of world-class companies supporting manufacturing in the aerospace sector.”
The £340 million loan is one of the largest-ever industrial investments made in the South West. Jane Henderson, Chief Executive of the South West Regional Development Agency, says: “”We are delighted this globally significant project is moving forward. It will keep the region at the forefront of technological innovation in this key sector.
“”We are especially pleased that the new aircraft will use lightweight carbon composite materials, helping the sector achieve a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The Agency has played an important role in supporting research and development into composites that will be directly utilised in this project.””
In July, South West England was named Britain’s first Low Carbon Economic Area, reflecting its potential to develop globally competitive green industries and to re-tool its traditional industries for a sustainable future.
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