Car giant Jaguar Land Rover brought some welcome good news to the economy today by announcing 1,000 new jobs as part of its drive to boost production over the next five years.
The company, owned by Indian firm Tata, said it expected thousands of applications for production staff and skilled tradesmen and women at its Land Rover plant in Solihull, West Midlands.
The jobs are being created in support of the business's ambition to deliver 40 "significant product actions" over the next five years under a multibillion-pound investment in product creation, likely to include a new Range Rover model.
The Government, unions and business leaders welcomed the news, saying it demonstrated the commitment of global investors to the UK.
Jaguar Land Rover employs almost 20,000 workers in the UK, including 5,000 in Solihull, and today's move is the latest in a series of job creation announcements this year.
The carmaker said in September it was to create up to 750 jobs at a new factory on a site near Wolverhampton.
Des Thurlby, human resources director at Jaguar Land Rover, said: "This is great news for Solihull. We shall be increasing the plant workforce by more than 25%. We have a loyal and committed workforce at Solihull. These jobs are well paid with great benefits.
"We provide high-quality training and development for all our employees and we expect to receive many thousands of applications."
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This is fantastic news for Solihull that Jaguar Land Rover is recruiting more than 1,000 jobs.
"This is a positive story of growth for the plant that was once under threat of closure. It is now expanding and has ambitious product plans."
Unite national officer Roger Maddison said: "This is welcome news and it is a testament to the skills and dedication of the whole JLR workforce.
"Unite and its members at JLR have worked tirelessly with management to secure long-term investment from the parent company Tata. This proves once again that the UK car industry is the place to invest."
Paul Everitt, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: "The creation of 1,000 new jobs at Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull plant is excellent news for UK automotive and demonstrates the commitment of global investors to the UK, drawing on the high level of skills held by the workforce here."
Solihull MP Lorely Burt (Liberal Democrat) said: "This is fantastic news for the area and for Jaguar Land Rover. They had a tough time during the recession and had to make some difficult decisions but those decisions are now being vindicated.
"Twelve months ago we were celebrating the fact they were keeping the plant open at all and now we're talking about 1,000 new direct jobs for our area, and even more down the supply chain. This investment will also bring job security to the thousands of workers already employed at the factory."
Malcolm Harbour, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, said: "Too often I hear people say that Britain no longer has a car industry, but nothing could be further from the truth.
"Jaguar Land Rover is responding to the current global market in exactly the right way - by investing in research and development which will bring out cutting edge products."