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Jobs boost at Jaguar Land Rover

Car giant Jaguar Land Rover is to invest £355 million to build low-emission engines in the UK, creating up to 750 jobs, the company has announced.

The new facility will be based at a business park near Wolverhampton in the Midlands, with work due to start early next year.

"We expect the engine manufacturing facility to create up to 750 highly-skilled engineering and manufacturing posts at Jaguar Land Rover, along with hundreds more highly-skilled manufacturing jobs in the supply chain and the wider UK economy," said Dr Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover.

Dr Speth said the new four-cylinder engines will increase JLR's capability to offer high-performance engines while ensuring continued significant reductions in vehicle emissions. He paid tribute to the "strong support" from the Government, trade unions, local MPs, local authorities and the company's own employees.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union, said: "This fantastic news is the culmination of 18 months' hard work by the workforce and Unite, the local council and local MP Jack Dromey, working with Jaguar to bring this plant to the Midlands. A forward-thinking approach and total determination by the local unions to bring new work to the UK ensured a competitive labour agreement could be reached to secure this new plant."

JLR has enjoyed a dramatic turnaround in fortunes in recent years, boosted by strong demand from emerging markets such as China and Russia. The company reported pre-tax profits of £1.1 billion in the year to March 31, up from £14.6 million the previous year. Revenues increased 51% to £9.9 billion.

The announcement of the investment was marked by a visit to the company's Solihull vehicle production plant by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable.

The Government said it is supporting JLR's project through the Grant for Business Investment scheme which is providing up to £10 million.

The site of the new engine plant - known as the i54 site - will be part of one of the new Enterprise Zones set up to boost local growth and attract new businesses.

Mr Clegg said: "Growing our economy has to be the number one priority for Britain, and the Government is not sitting on its hands. With initiatives like the Regional Growth Fund putting up to £10 million into this new plant and Enterprise Zones boosting growth across the country, we're making the UK a better place to invest and do business."

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