British management of car plants might have been disastrous but the success of the country's Japanese-run operations was underlined yesterday as Toyota announced the creation of 1,500 new jobs over the next two years at its Derbyshire factory.
The move is part of plans to invest £100m into the operation to make it the sole European plant producing "C"class mid- sized hatchbacks.
Despite a bleak economic picture generally, there were also announcements of 300 new jobs by the Swiss food conglomerate Nestlé at its coffee factory in South Derbyshire, where it will invest £110m in trebling production. Airbus also announced a further 200 jobs at its base near Bristol. The engineering jobs at a plant, which has enjoyed considerable Government investment, are to help meet demand for the A350 Airbus plane.
Much has been made of Britain's need to rebalance its economy and shift it away from a marked over reliance on financial services.
News of 2,000 new jobs will provide welcome relief to the Government, whose handling of the economy has come under fire with growth continuing to be torpid at best and fears of a second recession rising. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has sought to make political capital from the Toyota announcement by hailing it as "fantastic news".
However, some of the gloss was taken off the announcement from the Department for Education showing that there were 1.16 million young people aged 16-24 not in education, employment or training in the third quarter of 2011. The CBI called this "alarming".
Around 500 of the new hires will be made from the middle of next year as Toyota, which employs 3,380 in total at the Derby plant and at an engine factory in North Wales, prepares for a new hatchback to replace the Auris in two years time. It is produced in Britain and at a plant in Sakarya in Turkey. A new saloon to replace the Corolla will be made in Turkey.