Agency strives to find viable home for Rolls-Royce

Rachael Tinniswood

The North West Development Agency is prepared to offer significant financial help in a bid to keep Rolls Royce operations in the region.

The manufacturer is currently located on Dunnings Bridge Road in Bootle but Sefton council is working with the NWDA to try and find a cheaper location in the area to which the operation could be moved, in the hope that this could secure the factory's 220 jobs.

The NWDA has also offered an undisclosed sum towards a new site.

Rent at the Dunnings Bridge Road site, where turbines for the oil and gas industries are made, costs Rolls Royce £1.7m a year – a price which has led the company to look into moving the operation to Ohio, USA, where, according to union Unite, a peppercorn rent of just $1 (50p) a year is charged.

Rolls-Royce has admitted in the past that the difference between production costs in the UK compared to the US means the Bootle factory is no longer viable, and it wants to begin a phased closure of the site from June next year to March, 2009.

A crunch meeting is due to take place on Thursday between the NWDA, Sefton Council and the company.

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