Mr Paisley said,
I am delighted for Wrightbus. This is a significant development. The effort made to increase bus orders from around the country means that the company is able with confidence to expand. These will be full time jobs and not agency jobs so it is a significant boost for the company. It is great news for the local economy and once again sets manufacturing and precision engineering as one of the premier employers.
In just over a year and approaching its second anniversary under the new management of Jo Bamford and his team, the company has gone from millions of debt and bankruptcy to profitability.
It is now exceeding growth plans and expectations. All of this has been done with minimal government intervention.
I have today written to the Prime Minister reminding him of his zero emissions objectives. He has stated he wants to see 4000 zero emission busses in the U.K. in his first term as PM. Only a handful of these busses have been ordered and built. The Government’s promise on this would be a significant boost for bus building across the U.K. and one that Wrightbus with its advanced technology would gain from. It is up to the PM and his transport team to now make good on these commitments and I believe orders resulting from that would increase employment on this site yet again.
Hydrogen technology is the way ahead for zero emissions and a hydrogen hub in Ballymena training engineers and developing products would be a natural fit for the area. The prospects of this throw out challenges to schools and colleges to encourage engineering and science subjects to local children as there will be significant and skilled jobs available in this sector in the years ahead. We do have a skills shortage and that gap must be plugged."