BSW Timber is to create up to 60 new operational jobs at its sawmills in Carlisle and Dalbeattie as demand for UK timber rises.

The new jobs are a result of introducing extra shifts at both sites to meet the growing demand and were revealed during a visit to the Carlisle mill by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP on 13 February.

Mr Osborne’s visit marked the latest phase of a £70m five-year investment programme by BSW - part of an on-going commitment to bring cutting-edge technology to all its mills as well as creating modern manufacturing sites and improved customer services across the UK.

BSW Timber provides over 800 jobs at six sawmills across the UK, plus thousands more across the local supply chain and a further 130 jobs in its Latvian operation.

Welcoming the jobs announcement, Tony Hackney, chief executive of BSW Timber, said: “These are exciting times for BSW Timber and the UK forestry sector, and I am delighted to see more jobs created here at our Carlisle and Dalbeattie mills. This is a direct response to the increased demand for UK timber and reinforces the importance of the forestry sector to growing both our local and national economies.

“We have worked hard to be in this position and, thanks mainly to our improved efficiencies and the introduction of new technology, we are now producing more home grown timber than ever before. This is leading to increased sustainable usage in expanding UK markets such as timber framed houses and the repair and maintenance sector.”

Mr Hackney added: “Our investment has resulted in a major shift towards the supply of home grown British products and we have placed great emphasis in the last few years on working downstream with the UK construction sector to grow markets for UK timber. We must now ensure that the business confidence of the sector is underpinned by continued investment in sustainably managed productive woodland.”

Mr Osborne said: “The government's long-term economic plan is working for Carlisle. The economy here is growing and unemployment is down. Visiting BSW Timber, I have been hugely impressed by the drive and determination I've seen. By continuing to work through our economic plan we will deliver economic security for families and a brighter future for all."