Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has told staff at a global engineering firm in Silsden they are part of a national recovery in manufacturing.
Mr Osborne was a guest of Advanced Actuators, which makes complex hydraulic machinery used in gas oil and nuclear industries around the world.
He said the Government was committed to building a strong recovery in the North.
“I do see things improving,” he said. “The Government is investing in the North based on manufacturing and things are progressing.
“I’d be the first to say the job’s not done, there’s a long way to go. Britain is heading in the right direction, and Keighley is heading in the right direction too.”
After enjoying tea and a chat with apprentices, Mr Osborne paid tribute to the firm’s policies of employing local youngsters and using engineering parts made in Airedale.
“I’ve been hugely impressed by the advanced manufacturing that is taking place here in Silsden,” the Chancellor said. “What’s great about this company is that it uses other local companies to make parts for things which are exported around the world.
“And it’s impressive the way they bring on the apprentices in their workforce. It’s a real vote of confidence in British manufacturing and the West Yorkshire economy. I find it hugely refreshing to see this happening.”
Mr Osborne had been invited to Advanced Actuators by Keighley MP Kris Hopkins, who was also on Thursday afternoon’s visit.
“Kris is a great champion of local businesses and wanted me to see just what West Yorkshire is capable of.
“The people running this company say their export orders are growing and that means Britain is paying its way in the world again, which is what our international trade plan is all about,” he said.
Chris Woodhead, a director of Advance Actuators, said: “We’ve really benefited from the new export finance scheme where 80 per cent of any loan to a company is guaranteed by the Government.
“It’s been fantastic to have Mr Osborne here and show him what we’re doing with youth employment, other local firms and global exports.”
The firm, which last year had a £3 million turnover and spent £1 million with local suppliers, has just won a £300,000 contract in China.
Mr Woodhead started Advanced Actuators in 1999 with Steve Lund, of Skipton, and both are committed to manufacturing in Airedale after opening their Silsden base in 2004 which now employs 29 skilled workers.