Calderdale's Shining Light

MP & Minister visit John Holdsworth & Co Ltd, 8 Feb 1999
Ingrid Holdsworth, J Michael Holdsworth, Mr Alan Milburn, Mrs Dina Holdsworth (chairman),
Trevor Marsden and Mrs Alice Mahon MP at John Holdsworth & Co Ltd,
Shaw Lodge Mills, Halifax. 8th February 1999

Calderdale's Shining Light
MP & Minister visit to John Holdsworth & Co Ltd on 8th February 1999

THE success of a Calderdale textile firm is an example of what British industry can achieve even in a difficult climate, according to a top Government official.

The new Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Alan Milburn, said the Halifax firm John Holdsworth & Co Ltd, of Shaw Lodge Mills showed how success and jobs came from a long term strategy of investment in the latest machinery.

Mr Milburn was at the Halifax factory yesterday to officially open phase five of the weaving shed development, part of a multi-million pound investment in plant and machinery in recent years.

Mr Milburn said the company had a successful record in winning export contracts in a very competitive market.

The firm, which employs almost 400 people making cloths used in seat coverings for buses, trains and aircraft, had been investing in the long term rather than short term, he said.

"I have seen the enormous investment the firm is making in new equipment and new technology and they have also been creating jobs," he said.

"What is happening here gives the lie to the argument you sometimes hear that investment in new technology and new equipment inevitably means job losses.

MEP & Minister visit to John Holdsworth & Co Ltd, 8 Feb 1999
J Michael Holdsworth, Mrs Alice Mahon MP
and Mr Milburn at John Holdsworth & Co Ltd,
Shaw Lodge Mills, Halifax.
8th February 1999

"The reverse has happened here. Because they are investing, that's making them more competitive, taking on more staff, extra work."

Mr Milburn said the Government recognised that times had been tough for manufacturers, particularly those which exported, with a quarter of the world in recession. The textile industry itself had been hit by loss of Far Eastern markets.

But he believed the easing of sterling and recent cuts in interest rates would make trading conditions better for manufacturers.

Mr Milburn said the economy was still growing and the situation would dramatically improve for manufacturers next year.

"I regard manufacturing industry as being part and parcel of our country's future," he said.

It was up to the Government to provide the right background but it was businesses which created the jobs.

Reported by Arnold Woods, business editor at The Halifax Courier, 9th February 1999

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