Hethel: Lotus To Create More Than A Thousand New Jobs

Luxury car companies including Norfolk-based Lotus, are among the businesses to benefit from the near-£1 billion of grants announced by the Government.

Lotus, based at Hethel in Norfolk, was on the list of companies that had been successful in getting a Regional Growth Fund (RGF) grant.

The company says its Esprit supercar, the Elite coupe, a new Elise roadster, plus the Eterne - a four-seat supercar - and a luxury electric motor, the Ethos will be built at its factory in Norfolk.

It also says it plans to double its annual production to 6-thousand cars by 2015.

The grant for Lotus was described as a "multimillion-pound'' one.

Group Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar said: "To say that we're pleased with the result would be an understatement.

"This funding will play a role in assisting with the realisation of our business plan to produce a new range of sports cars with best-in-class performance and emissions."

In all, there were 21 transport-related projects that benefited from grants announced today.

They included a new dry dock in Hartlepool in north west England, improvements to the M1 at junction 10A in Bedfordshire, and improved access at Southampton docks.

Transport Minister Theresa Villiers said: ``Transport plays a vital role in creating jobs and contributing to sustainable economic growth.

"The 21 transport schemes approved in principle offer value for money and demonstrate this Government's commitment to investing today in infrastructure, connecting people to jobs, reducing congestion and supporting our future economy.''

The news has been welcomed by The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

They say securing support from the Government for Group Lotus has been a very significant priority for them, because of the importance of the company to the economies of Norfolk and Suffolk, both as a direct employer and also as a magnet for other businesses.

Earlier in the year New Anglia's Andy Wood with Peter Barry met with Business Secretary Vince Cable to press the case for funding for Group Lotus.

Mr Cable also visited Group Lotus and met with senior politicians who have also worked hard to secure support for the company.

New Anglia chairman Andy Wood said: "In New Anglia's outline business plan produced at the start of the year, we identified securing Regional Growth Fund support for Group Lotus as a very important priority.

I am delighted that the work undertaken by us and other partners has helped secure this vital funding which will in time create more than 1,000 jobs in this key sector.

The funding awarded to Group Lotus was the only Regional Growth Fund grant to be awarded to a business or organisation from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire or Cambridgeshire.

Mr Wood said: "Whilst we are pleased with the success for Group Lotus -  we are disappointed that other parts of the country continue to be given preferential treatment for funding from the Regional Growth Fund."

They say that out of 119 successful bids to the Regional Growth Fund  - just seven were from London, the South East and the East of England.

Hear From Lotus Chief Exec Dany Bahar