Jaguar Land Rover has most of its UK operations in the Midlands region

Jaguar Land Rover has most of its UK operations in the Midlands region

Britain's Business, Investment and Industrial Strategy department is to plough GBP35m (US$46.3m) into an automotive zone in the UK Midlands, as well as new transport links to Jaguar Land Rover's burgeoning operations at its nearby global HQ and engineering centre.

An expanded automotive business zone in Whitley, near Coventry, will become home to nearly 3,000 engineering and manufacturing jobs with the new 24-hectare site, known as the Whitley South Infrastructure Project, while businesses are expected to move in and hire from 2017/18.

The facility is being developed with support from Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council, which have secured further local contributions of GBP10m to seal the project.

"This new development will create thousands more skilled jobs," said Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark. "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 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 JLR engineering centre.

To coincide with the announcement, CWLEP has also announced it will publish its refreshed Strategic Economic Plan, 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.

"The resurgence of advanced manufacturing and the automotive industry in the West Midlands is a real success story," added Business Minister, Margot James.

"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 GBP35m investment unlocks land that will help to cement the region as a leading destination for investment."

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.

More than 15,000 people are employed in the advanced manufacturing sector in the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP area.

JLR says it will take on 125 apprentices and create a further 250 support staff roles, after moving into the site. Central government investment of GBP35m has been paid to Coventry Council and work will start in the next few months.

According to the most recent statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the UK automotive industry accounts for more than GBP71.6bn turnover and GBP18.9bn value added.