A TOP official from the Bank of England recently toured a packaging business in Cricklade.

Bank of England's deputy governor Dr Ben Broadbent visited GWP Group’s site in Chelworth Park Industrial Estate meeting with managing director Ruth Cook on Friday, April 5.

The company designs and manufactures packaging for local, regional, and international businesses. 

It currently employs around 100 people across two locations in Wiltshire, including Cricklade and Salisbury.

Economist Dr Broadbent visited the firm with his colleague Jamie Barber who is the South West Representative for the Bank of England.

The visit included a tour of the company's manufacturing facility, followed by a discussion regarding business at GWP, the outlook for the protective packaging and wider manufacturing industries and the current economic climate.

GWP Group is part of the Macfarlane Group PLC, the UK's largest protective packaging distributor, following its acquisition in early 2021.

The wider Macfarlane Group comprises more than 1,000 employees, with sales of more than £280m in 2023 across the UK and Europe.

GWP managing director Ms Cook said: "We were delighted to host Ben and Jamie on their recent visit.

“Besides a very productive discussion regarding the challenges and opportunities we are seeing, it was great to be able to show them the technology, people and innovation that we employ at our business."

She added: "The protective packaging industry is a great barometer for manufacturing and the wider economy, so it is really encouraging that the Bank of England takes a close interest in how we are doing."

Martin Lawell, Macfarlane Group Financial Analyst, who also attended the meeting said: “Although there has been a continued focus on the distribution side of our business, Macfarlane's manufacturing division has grown considerably over the past couple of years. 

“Being able to engage with the Bank of England provides encouragement that the strong foundations we have put in place will allow us to continue our plans for growth as we move into 2024."