A GOVERNMENT minister donned a hard hat and steel-cap boots as she paid a visit to a Hampshire firm’s £30million new factory.

Local Growth Minister Baroness Kramer took a tour of GE Aviation’s site in Hamble which has received £2million of Government funding to help make the new factory – hailed by the firm as the most advanced in Europe – a reality.

Construction work began last year on the new composite aerostructure manufacturing facility, which will be used to build parts for the new Airbus A350 XWB aircraft.

The Government cash, secured as part of the Regional Growth Fund, will be used to develop advanced manufacturing and material handling systems at the site.

The new facility, which is expected to open next July, will create or sustain about 170 jobs.

Speaking after her tour, Liberal Democrat MP Baroness Kramer said: “I found it absolutely fascinating because I was able to see the difference the Regional Growth Fund money is making and I hadn’t really absorbed before how significant infrastructure can be to allow a company like GE to invest in new facilities to create new processes and jobs.”