Redditch firm hailed by minister

By Ian Dipple Wednesday 19 March 2014 Updated: 20/03 10:08

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Buy photos » Colin Fulford with Employment Minister Esther McVey and Redditch MP Karen Lumley. Picture by Marcus Mingins 1214014MMR

AN ENGINEERING firm has been hailed as an example of the way Britain's economy is being turned around.

Employment minister Esther McVey visited Bee Design on the Enfield Industrial Estate on Monday (March 17) to see for herself the success of the firm which designs and makes specialist lighting parts for the luxury end of the car industry including brands such as Lamborghini and Bentley.

Since being founded in 2006 by directors Colin Fulford and Paul Crees, its turnover has grown from less than half a million to over £2million and over the next three years is expected to hit £4.2million. It currently has 19 staff with plans to create another 18 skilled jobs with the setting-up of its own research and design and test centre.

In a speech in 2012 Prime Minister David Cameron said rebalancing the economy would require Britain to 'make more, sell more overseas and manufacture more'.

And Ms McVey told the Standard Bee Design was exactly the kind of company that would be a key part of that economic revival.

"For the first time since the 1970s we are now a net exporter of cars. People will be looking to the UK and saying what are we doing, what's cutting edge, what's the future of the car industry and these people here are doing it within a specific part of that car industry," she said.

"It's an exceptional example of what David Cameron was talking about."

Despite growth returning to the economy and unemployment falling - the number of people claiming jobseekers' allowance in Redditch fell slightly during February and is down 24 per cent on the same time in 2013 - the average full-time wage in Redditch is still £2,600 lower than in 2010.

Ms McVey said wages would catch up as the economy grew and the Government was doing everything it could to help hard pressed households through measures such as taking people out of taxation and freezing fuel duty. But she admitted it was a slow journey.

"What we've had to see is a gearing change for the UK and that was the government's finances as well as individual finance because personal debt went through to a staggering amount, so all of that has to be turned around before you can go forward," she said.

"Look at all the predictions and we are on the right path it's when wages catch up."

But speaking on a visit to nearby Worcester last week Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said: "I think if you went to most people and said what do you think of the economic recovery I think most would say well there is no recovery for me as my living standards are falling."

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