Why Cameron says we can play big role in UK's recovery - with slideshow
IT was not by chance that Prime Minister David Cameron chose Derby as the place to reinvigorate his push to get UK plc growing again.
And it was deliberate that out of all the places in the city to hold his specially convened Cabinet meeting, he chose Rolls-Royce's Sinfin site.
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman with regional manager Ian Carter and store manager at B&Q in Burton.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, second from right at the front, met representatives from Derbyshire's tourism industry during a visit to Breadsall Priory.
Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell enjoys a walkabout during his visit to the University of Derby.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne observes work being carried out on Toyota's production line at Burnaston.
David Cameron was given a tour of Rolls-Royce. He is pictured with, from left, director John Griffiths, chief executive Sir John Rose and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Derby's largest employer is being held up by Mr Cameron's Coalition Government as an example of a company that is successfully competing on a world stage.
Yesterday was a day that will go down in the history books – in Derby's, at least. To see a slideshow of images from yesterday's visit click here.
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It was the first time that any Government had held a Cabinet meeting in the city, and only the second time the Coalition had held one outside of Whitehall.
But during his visit, Mr Cameron was not so much focused on history as on the future.
He said that Rolls-Royce, which employs a combined total of around 12,000 people at its civil aerospace and marine divisions in Derby, had a crucial role to play in the country's future prosperity.
Following a tour of the company's assembly line, Mr Cameron said: "As a world leader in the development of advanced technologies, Rolls-Royce is a company of which the whole country can be proud.
"Hi-tech manufacturers not only drive technological advances, they also create wealth for the UK.
"I believe businesses like Rolls-Royce will play a crucial role in the UK's economic recovery, by supporting and creating jobs and delivering growth."
During his visit, Mr Cameron opened the Rolls-Royce Technology Exhibition Centre, which showcases the company's innovation and explains how its investment in research has enabled it to develop new products.
These include the next generation of aero engines such as the Trent XWB, which is currently in development.
During his tour of the assembly line, Mr Cameron met with staff, including apprentices, and witnessed the production of the Trent 1000 engine being supplied to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a passenger aircraft that is currently undergoing testing.
He was accompanied on the tour by Rolls-Royce's chief executive, Sir John Rose.
Sir John said: "It was a great pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister as the first visitor to our new technology exhibition.
"Rolls-Royce has grown by combining customer focus, technology and teamwork to deliver world-leading products and services.
"We invest in the long term, in research, new facilities and products as well as in training our people.
"Rolls-Royce is a technology company and the exhibition showcases the world-class science, engineering and skills that give us choices and underpin our growth."
Mr Cameron's day started with the Cabinet meeting at Rolls-Royce's Learning and Career Development Centre in Wilmore Road.
It focused on the opportunities and challenges to growth.
After it finished, Cabinet ministers dispersed to engagements across the county, and the wider East Midlands region.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, took the opportunity to visit Toyota's Burnaston car plant.
During the downturn, the factory, which employs around 2,600 people, went through a difficult time.
It had to reduce production and start a voluntary redundancy programme, which resulted in around 800 people leaving the business.
But better-than-expected sales of an eco-friendly version of the Auris, which the factory started producing last summer, has resulted in the company recently taking on 200 temporary workers.
Mr Osborne was delighted that the success of the Auris hybrid, which runs on both petrol and electricity, had resulted in Toyota recruiting again.
He said: "I'm very encouraged that Toyota is once again taking on new staff. Just two years ago, the Burnaston factory was making voluntary redundancies.
"So, I'm delighted by how its fortunes have turned around.
"This factory is an example of British manufacturing at its best and Toyota is making a high-quality product."
Mr Osborne said Toyota's success could provide opportunities for other British firms.
He said: "Some parts for these cars are produced in the UK but many others are imported from other countries. I would like to see even more UK suppliers get in on the act and there are things that we, as a Government, can do to create the right conditions that will allow UK companies to compete for this work.
"My Government's aim is to ensure that wealth is generated across the regions, not just in London.
"Companies like Toyota and Rolls-Royce can help drive such growth in this region."
Tony Walker, deputy managing director of Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, showed Mr Osborne around the Burnaston plant.
He said: "Mr Osborne's visit represented a strong endorsement of our company's UK operations, our low carbon manufacturing and environmental leadership and of our workforce's commitment to building superior quality vehicles.
"We support this Government's desire to re-balance the economy towards manufacturing, stimulate low-carbon investment and private-sector growth."
Mr Walker said sales of the Auris hybrid had given the Burnaston plant a boost.
He said: "The successful introduction of the Auris hybrid last summer has been an important milestone in a transition to low-carbon manufacturing in the UK and for road transport generally.
"We are delighted Auris hybrid has sold well and our current volume demand is higher than the original sales forecast."
Toyota Motor Europe announced last week that hybrid vehicles are to represent more than a fifth of Toyota sales by 2013.
Mr Walker said: "We expect Auris hybrid to make a significant contribution."