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As Swinney makes new appeal on austerity...

Sturgeon unveils US firm’s plan to create 212 jobs in Scotland

Nicola SturgeonFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that US based global manufacturing services company Jabil is to invest further in Scotland.

During a meeting in New York with representatives from Florida-based Jabil, the First Minister said the company’s investment of £12.5 million into its Livingston plant will create 212 jobs and safeguard 147 manufacturing roles.

The investment was announced to kick-start the First Minister’s four-day visit to New York and Washington. She said: “Scotland has a proud tradition and enviable global reputation for engineering excellence, built on the skills and innovation of our people, making it an attractive location for US businesses.

“Ernst & Young’s latest Attractiveness Survey showed that 2014 was Scotland’s most successful year in the past decade for attracting US investments and Jabel’s announcement is further evidence of this success.”

Lena Wilson, chief executive Scottish Enterprise said: “Jabil’s Centre of Excellence in Livingston will solidify its ability to deliver R&D, manufacturing and new product introduction, thus creating additional capabilities, leadership and decision making in Scotland. Jabil will also be able to tap into evolving technologies emerging from Scotland’s innovative company base and collaborate with our world class universities.”

Scottish Enterprise has supported the first phase of Jabil’s Livingston investment with £450,000 of grant funding and continues to engage with the company on future opportunities for the site.

Dr Joseph McGee, executive vice president of Jabil, said: “We are pleased to be able to announce the expansion our long-standing Scotland site and leverage the tenured team to grow and expand our global processes and capabilities.”

The plant, one of 90 worldwide, was the Florida-based company’s first move into the European marketplace in 1993 and its first manufacturing operation overseas.

It designs and builds systems for customers in the aerospace, defence, aerospace and healthcare sectors, helping to launch and grow emerging companies by bringing products to market.

Ms Sturgeon’s transatlantic talks come as John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister meets Chancellor George Osborne to discuss the public finances.

Mr Swinney will insist that the UK Government could ease the scale and speed of its spending cuts, invest in public services and still achieve its debt and borrowing targets.

New analysis will be published by the Scottish Government today highlighting the flexibility the UK Government has to increase spending on public services above its current plans – by £8 billion in 2016-17 then up to £36bn in 2019-20 – and still meet its Charter for Budget Responsibility targets.

The Scottish Government says this would allow £93bn of additional UK investment over the next four years as a whole when compared to current UK Government plans, providing up to £7bn in additional investment for devolved public spending in Scotland.

Mr Swinney will put the case for using this flexibility to reverse in-year budget cuts and invest to support growth.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Swinney said: “Cuts are already hitting the poorest households the hardest, damaging public services and threatening economic recovery. Yet the UK Government is planning to inflict even deeper austerity this year, including cuts to Scotland’s budget this year.

“The cuts agenda is unnecessary and ideologically driven and we will continue to argue strongly for a moderate increase in spending on public services of 0.5% a year in real terms, between 2016-17 and 2019-20. That strikes the best balance between investing in public services and ensuring the sustainability of the public finances.

“However what we can show today is that the UK Government’s current plans go significantly beyond what is needed to meet their own arbitrary debt and borrowing targets.

“Our analysis shows that the Chancellor could meet his fiscal mandate and still invest an additional £93bn of public services over the next four years, compared to its current plans. This would provide an additional £7bn in investment for devolved public spending in Scotland.

“I will be making the cases that the Chancellor should reverse the latest unacceptable and damaging cuts to the Scottish Government’s budget and use the flexibility at his disposal to ease the scale of cuts in future years and invest in households and businesses.

“Our limited tax powers make it impossible for the Scottish Government to fill the gap being created by the Chancellor without taxing those who are already taking the brunt of the cuts”

“The threat of further cuts hanging over Scotland underlines the need for more powers to be devolved through the Scotland Bill including employment policy, the minimum wage, welfare, business taxes, national insurance and equality policy – the powers we need to create jobs, grow revenues and lift people out of poverty.”

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