Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has heaped praise on the outstanding work of a long-established packaging firm.
Nottingham-headquartered The Wilkins Group has been recognised as spearheading the national reputation of not just East Midlands firms but businesses nationally, by Mr Hunt.
The award-winning family firm was one of around 100 ‘Business Champions’ honoured by the Chancellor during a recent visit.
Business champions are beacons of good business practice and Andre Wilkins, head of the Wilkins family and managing director of the company, was invited to represent the company at a reception at 10 Downing Street.
After praising the Wilkins family firm, the Chancellor said: “Local businesses are vital for our economy, our day-to-day lives and our communities. Creating jobs, supporting growth in a huge variety of sectors, their tireless hard work does not go unnoticed.
“As Chancellor, I see the contribution that local businesses make across the country to all our cities, towns and villages and this is something we can all be proud of.
“Not only do they bring immeasurable value to the economy, but they are also the heart and soul of so many of our communities.”
The praise from the Government is the pinnacle of a number of achievements for the Wilkins Group over the past few years, which has seen the firm named Midlands Family Business of the Year, win Best Business in the Pride of Gedling awards and launch its multi-million-pound 50,000 sq ft Phase 3 factory extension at its UK headquarters at Colwick Industrial Estate.
The three-acre addition to the site also aims to bring further investment in numerous new machines, capable of assisting in the current demands of the wider food packaging sector.
Mr Wilkins, who was just 17 when he helped his father Ken set up the firm in a room in a house in Talbot Street in 1963, said: “It was an honour to get invited to meet the Chancellor.
“It really is a spin-off from the massive investments we have been making in the last 12 to 18 months, creating more highly skilled jobs to grow the business at a higher level.”
He added: “Mr Hunt was very supportive, and was keen to give recognition to key businesses, particularly family firms, that are supporting the local economy.”
The firm – well-known for designing the LED light base for Marks & Spencer’s festive snow globe liqueurs and supplying packaging to leading supermarkets – hopes to have a £70m turnover in the next five years.
The company’s headquarters are in Gedling and Mr Wilkins was invited to the reception by the constituency’s MP, Tom Randall, who gave him a tour of the Houses of Parliament beforehand.
Mr Randall said: “Thank you to the Wilkins Group for investing in and expanding its Colwick head office and employing so many local people.”