North East Wales

New £30m Deeside research institute plan announced

The new institute Image copyright Welsh Government

A new £30m manufacturing and research institute is being planned for Deeside, the Welsh Government has announced.

The facility, funded by a £20m Welsh Government grant and £10m from project partners, will work with the aerospace, automotive, nuclear and food sectors.

Broughton-based Airbus with be the first tenants, and will use the centre to design new wing technology.

The investment will help safeguard thousands of jobs up to 2030, Economy Secretary Ken Skates said.

Mr Skates said "in light of the uncertainties" following Brexit, it was more important than ever to "support innovation and competitiveness."

He said the centre would be a "catalyst" for growth and jobs in Deeside, and the Northern Powerhouse region of north Wales and England.

"The world-class facilities provided at the institute will deliver these benefits to large and small businesses and offer a significant asset in terms of securing new investment," he added.

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Media captionEconomy Minister Ken Skates and Paul McKinlay, head of Airbus in Broughton, talk about the new research centre

Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns said it was "great news" and "demonstrates Wales is open for business."

"Global aviation leaders like Airbus continue to invest heavily in the talent and skills available in north east Wales," he said.

The centre will be split between a proposed 4,500 sq m hub in Broughton, and a business development and advice facility near Deeside industrial park.

Analysis by Brian Meechan, BBC Wales business correspondent

Research and development is very important - an investment in skills and equipment which makes Wales more productive and competitive in the global market, especially as the UK moves towards leaving the European Union.

The Deeside economy is booming. Airbus is one example and has a knock-on effect on other companies. It also encourages other firms to start up around it.

And it's not just Airbus but Toyota and Tata are other big names driving things. This centre is also about working with educational establishments as well as business, with the support from the government.

But Ken Skates also put a shot across the bows of the UK government, saying investment was coming from the Welsh Government but he also wants to see something coming from Westminster in the Autumn Statement in terms of investment in north Wales.

Further details about the facility are expected to be confirmed by summer 2017.

The institute has been developed by the Deeside Enterprise Zone Advisory Board, the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Swansea University, and Coleg Cambria.

Head of Airbus Broughton, Paul McKinlay, said the new institute would enable them to "stay ahead of the competition."

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