TYNEDALE’S largest employer was visited by a government minister in recognition of the role it plays in UK manufacturing.

Claire Perry MP, minister for Energy and Clean Growth, headed to Hexham’s wood-based manufacturing plant Egger to see the work carried out in the Tyne Valley.

Since 2006, Egger has invested approximately £250m in its UK operations to remain at the forefront of production chain in Europe.

The Devizes MP was accompanied on the trip by Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman, Northumberland County Council leader Peter Jackson and county councillor for Hexham East, Cath Homer. Mr Opperman said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the importance of forestry to Northumberland, and I really hope she takes the message loud and clear about the need to maintain forestry and keep timber costs down on an ongoing basis.”

Claire Perry said: "It was a pleasure to be in Hexham with Guy Opperman MP and visit the Egger plant to meet representatives of the Wood Panel Industry and discuss the importance of forestry to the UK Economy.

"It’s great to see manufacturing firms continuing to invest domestically and bringing highly skilled, quality jobs to the area."

Coun. Jackson added: “It was fantastic to be given a tour of the Egger site. The consistent development of the site over many years to create hundreds of jobs for local people and to sustain the local rural economy in the way that they do is nothing but a cornerstone to the western part of Northumberland and the Hexham area.

"Northumberland County Council will continue to support Egger with the long-term aim of providing more and better jobs in the west of Northumberland."