South Lakeland MP Tim Farron visited James Cropper PLC on Friday to hear about the latest developments at the company and discuss the challenges facing the industry.
Tim met with CEO, Phil Wild and Group Finance Director, Isabelle Maddock of the company and heard how James Cropper PLC continues to grow and develop, taking on even more staff and expanding operations into new areas in addition to their traditional paper business. Also on the agenda was the need for a British industrial strategy that supports the manufacturing industry, as well as the challenges that are faced post-Brexit.
Tim said: “It was fantastic to visit James Cropper once again and to hear about the exciting developments at the company, particularly as the firm expands into new markets. As the largest private sector employer in our area, the company’s success is good news for all of us.
“James Cropper is a shining example of the best of British manufacturing, complementing their traditional paper business with the latest technology and innovation, and creating skilled local jobs and apprenticeships. As a country, it is vital that we support businesses and develop the skill base required so that other firms can follow James Cropper’s example. I will also continue to push the government to ensure that any post-Brexit deal does not harm the ability of businesses such as James Cropper to trade with the EU.”
Phil Wild, CEO at James Cropper, said: “The paper manufacturing industry has seen a lot of changes in recent years, so the need to innovate, develop and improve is more important than ever. Our people sit at the heart of these initiatives.”
“Continued investment into research and development in technology, whether that’s in technical, equipment, product development or materials, is crucial for us to maintain and expand our foothold in the industry. We sell our products all over the world to sectors ranging from luxury goods to aerospace. Our customers demand information on the environmental impact and sustainability of our processes and on working practices. This is an ever-increasingly important objective for businesses as they strive to reduce their impact on the environment. For the papermaking arm of the business our unique coffee-cup reclaimed fibre plant, has enabled us to become an unrivalled driving force in eco-friendly innovation in our sector, in Technical Fibre Products (TFP) new products have been introduced to provide super lightweight solutions for aerospace composite bodies, and the newest division; 3D Products (3DP) provides sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging using highly engineered, brightly coloured moulded fibres.”
Isabelle Maddock, Finance Director at James Cropper, adds: “The global market continues to be essential for growth and development, with about 50 per cent of our products being exported. Post-Brexit, there is some concern about how it will affect industry in the UK. Britain offers a huge pool of knowledge and skills supporting innovation, therefore we would strongly oppose the introduction of tariffs as they restrict trade and ultimately have a detrimental effect on innovation, which is driven by the reinvestment of profits. That said, our global business model has proven to be robust and the Group is well placed to face the challenges of Brexit.”