London, July 29 (IANS) Britain’s once near-extinct motorcycle industry was given a multi-million dollar thrust on Tuesday when Chancellor George Osborne kick-started a global drive for one of the world’s oldest companies that dates to 1898.
The chancellor visited the factory in England’s Midlands region, where the world-famous Norton Motorcycles are hand-built, to announce a $11.7 million project.
The investment will support new jobs and apprenticeships in as a major boost to British motorcycle manufacturing.
The funds will allow the iconic British brand to set up a new British Motorcycle Manufacturing Academy (BMMA) to train and supply the next generation of engineering apprentices for Norton and its supply chain partners.
The cash injection will also enable Norton to develop new clean motorcycle engine technology in Britain to power a new green motorcycle within two years.
Norton Motorcycles expects its labour force to grow to 600 direct and indirect jobs – including 200 apprentices – over five years.
“This investment will secure the long term future of the UK motorcycle manufacturing within Norton and its supply chain partners, re-shoring skills lost to UK manufacturing and helping them meet increasing global demand,” a spokesman of Norton said.
Osborne said, “our long term economic plan is all about backing successful British brands like Norton. Their decision to create new jobs and investment in the next generation of manufacturing engineers is great news and a vote of confidence in the UK.”
Norton Motorcycle Chief Executive, Stuart Garner said, “we have worked steadfastly in the last six years to bring Norton back with an authentic British built motorcycle.
“To see solid government support for the manufacturing industry like this is hugely heart-warming and gives us great confidence in bringing the industry back to the UK, creating jobs, learning forgotten skills and enabling exports around the world,” he said.