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Friday, 28 November 2014

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Foreign Secretary William Hague sings praises of successful Carlisle firm

Foreign Secretary William Hague has paid tribute to a company bucking the economic trend.

WIlliam Hague photo
William Hague at Stead McAlpin

He paid a flying visit to Cumbria yesterday and toured the Cummersdale print works of Stead McAlpin, accompanied by Carlisle MP John Stevenson.

In 2009, the historic company was on the brink of closure but, with hours to spare, it managed to secure multi-million pound orders, creating around 100 jobs.

Mr Hague said he was impressed with what he had seen and held the company up as a shining example to show that businesses could succeed in the current economic climate.

He said: “This is a very good business and it should be an inspiration to any other businesses in the country. A lot more people have been employed here and the firm is bringing good processes back from the Far East.”

Mr Hague said that they were producing very high quality printed fabrics, pointing out that Britain was still the sixth largest country for manufacturing.

“We have got to be optimistic for the future and support go-ahead businesses like this,” he added.

Mr Stevenson said Steads was an example of a company which had “luckily turned the corner” and added: “It’s a growing business. It exports and provides quality goods.”

He said that the Foreign Secretary, as well as being responsible for foreign affairs, was also out to promote British business and exports abroad. “It’s important that we not only export to the EU and America, but to the growing economies of Asia and Africa,” added Mr Stevenson.

Chris Soper, the factory owner, said that they currently employed more than 120 workers – compared with 35 when the firm was in administration. He said: “We are honoured to have the Foreign Secretary visit us.”

Mr Hague’s first stop was in Penrith where he met with Rory Stewart, the MP for Penrith and the Border, and Conservative candidates who will be standing in the county council elections to be held on May 2.

He said that polls for the middle of a Parliamentary term were looking quite good and success in areas such as road repairs and superfast broadband had been carried out by the current administration.

Mr Hague added: “The county council have got a good record.”

During yesterday morning Mr Stevenson welcomed Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter when he visited a local health facility to discussing the latest local and national health issues.

The Carlisle MP said: “The NHS provides Carlisle with a number of different healthcare facilities covering different age demographics and including a variety of heath care needs.

“It is important that the Health Minister sees the important work which healthcare professionals in my constituency consistently carry out.

“It is vital that Carlisle retains these healthcare facilities given Carlisle’s geographical position. I look forward to demonstrating the professionalism of local NHS staff and also to discussing areas of healthcare which could be improved locally.”

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