Chancellor visits energy company that’s determined to stay in the UK

Friday, 19th July 2013

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Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne visited a Chippenham energy company on Friday as part of a two-day visit to Wiltshire.

He was given a tour of Danlers, which designs and manufactures energy-saving controls for heating, lighting and air conditioning.

The family business, which has been in Chippenham for 20 years, was chosen for the visit as a company that has maintained its base in the UK and resisted the trend to manufacture abroad.

Manufacturing, sales and marketing are all kept on site at Bumpers Farm.

To compete with a surge of cheaper products flooding in from the Far East, the electronic controls manufacturer had to improve production methods and invest in state-of-the-art equipment.

Danlers said although this initially resulted in some staff cuts, in the long term its full-time staff is larger than before it invested in automated machinery.

The Chancellor was given a 45-minute tour on Thursday of the Danlers factory and was given hands-on instruction in the manufacturing process. Production trainee Matthew Johnstone tutored him in placing electronic components on a printed circuit board.

Two weeks ago Mr Osborne declared to the Commons that providing reliable energy was the job of the Government, after an assessment by Ofgem that Britain’s risk of electricity blackouts by 2015 had increased to one in 12 years, up from one in 47 years.

Executive chairman Tony Kay, who showed Mr Osborne around, said: “Mr Osborne seemed to be impressed that we manufactured well-designed products here in the UK by using the latest automatic electronic assembly equipment alongside traditional skills, and that by doing so could compete with goods made in the far east in both cost and quality.”

He was also interested to see the variety of ages of staff, ranging from 17 to 78.

Mr Osborne was joined by Chippenham Conservatives’ prospective parliamentary candidate, Michelle Donelan, who said: “Coming from three generations of small businessmen I know just how tough it can be, especially in today’s economy. It’s great that George Osborne came to see how Danlers has brought jobs back to Chippenham.”

Danlers, which employs 50 people in-house, received the Queen’s award for enterprise for innovation three years ago.

 

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