Holding answer received on 11 April 2019
Following GKN’s notification to employees on 4 April about their intention to undertake a phased closure of their Kings Norton site in Birmingham by 2021, the Secretary of State spoke to Hans Buthker (CEO of GKN Aerospace) on 7 April. He explained that this proposal was the result of an internal strategic review by GKN to help the company secure long-term sustainability that will better position it for future growth.
Mr Buthker stressed GKN’s continued commitment to the UK, evidenced by the significant new investment the company is making including, as part of this proposal, at Luton and Portsmouth and in a Global Technology R&D Centre at Filton. This comes on top of GKN’s further announcement last week for £300 million in new investment to ramp up its activities in the fast-growing electric vehicle market.
This is a commercial decision for GKN Aerospace and not in contravention of the deed of covenant agreed between BEIS and Melrose. GKN Aerospace have confirmed the site will remain operational in a phased capacity until 2021, and all affected employees will be supported in seeking new employment within and outside of GKN Aerospace. GKN Aerospace announced they will be increasing overall investment in its other UK sites, with Luton and Portsmouth becoming technology centres of excellence. GKN Aerospace invested record levels into R&D in 2018, including a new world-class Global Technology Centre opening in Bristol in 2020, hosting 300 highly skilled engineers.
We appreciate this will be an unsettling time for the 172 employees at Kings Norton and will work closely with the company, and local partners, to make sure that they are supported throughout.