Norfolk MPs to lobby Vince Cable over Lotus loan

Norfolk MPs will lobby business secretary Vince Cable next week in a bid to seek government support for the expansion of sports car manufacturer Lotus.

The Hethel-based company is looking to create more high skilled jobs in the county after announcing plans for five new models.

Three Norfolk MPs will meet with the government minister on Monday in an attempt to strengthen Group Lotus' case for an almost �30m regional growth fund loan.

The meeting comes after the company missed out on government funding earlier this year to stimulate the economy.

But Norwich South MP Simon Wright, South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, and Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman said government investment would safeguard 390 jobs and create more than 1,000 new manufacturing jobs in south Norfolk.

They will be telling Dr Cable on Monday that a small loan will generate export revenues of almost �800m in the next six years.

Mr Wright said Lotus' ambitions were fully in line with the government's objective of growing advanced manufacturing in the UK and private sector enterprise.

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'If successful, this bid will create over 1,000 new jobs in Norfolk over the next five years and give a massive boost to the local economy,' he said.

Mr Freeman said that the cash injection would help Lotus to become a key generator of export for the UK economy.

'Not only would Lotus fly the flag for British industry in the international market, but key suppliers around the Norfolk area will be given the opportunity to flourish alongside Lotus,' he said.

A regional growth fund loan - repaid with interest - would also boost the delivery of a technology park at Hethel, which in turn will deliver 1,500 new jobs.

Mr Bacon added: 'Lotus is already pushing the boundaries of automotive technology and, by investing in Lotus, the government would be ensuring that Norfolk remains a centre of excellence for engineering.'

The meeting has been organised by South Norfolk Council, which is campaigning for the car firm to secure a loan in the second round of the regional growth fund, which is set to close on July 1.

John Fuller, leader of the district council said: 'Our community knows the importance of this global business to the success of our local economy, all the way from shops and pubs to suppliers. It is vital we support Lotus where ever possible, and keep it thriving.'