Rolls-Royce has announced a new investment in a post-Brexit UK, its largest in a decade. The engineering firm is set to invest £150m in UK operations at its historic Derby plant, which would mean more than 7000 highly skilled jobs, many of them in maintenance and manufacturing.
The move echoes Toyota’s recent commitment of £240m to the modernisation of its plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire.
The import of engineering components from abroad could prove a challenge to automotive companies investing in the UK, given the continued uncertainty concerning tariffs and trade regulations after Brexit.
In Rolls-Royce’s case, their civil aerospace division has approximately 300 UK direct suppliers, worth £750,000 a year. The remainder of their global direct supply chain include 600 suppliers.
“We’re always looking at ways to drive transformation in our business, but the location of a supplier is just one factor we consider when choosing them,” said a spokesman for Rolls-Royce.
According to Rolls-Royce, this decision has been made based on multiple factors, including constructive dialogue with union leaders, and the fact that the company is already an established presence in the UK.
“We’re a global business with a global footprint and we have experience working with governments of all types – so for us this is business as normal,” the spokesman said.
Given the scepticism currently surrounding the prospect of investing in the UK, Rolls-Royce’s decision could be read as a gesture of faith towards the company’s UK employees, potentially serving as an example for those who are hesitant to invest.