Carlisle MP John Stevenson officially opened an extension to a city factory, which will create more jobs.

Chapman Bags, based at Harraby Green Business Park, benefitted from a major investment in July, which has allowed it to expand and improve its production processes to meet the rising demand for its luxury bags.

It already exports around 20 per cent of its bags abroad with high demand in Germany, USA and Japan and plans to double its overseas sales while also increasing its online retail operation.

Mr Stevenson was given a tour of the factory to see how the investment has been used to create more space including room for in-house training so machinists can learn new skills. The firm employs 25 people.

Mr Stevenson said: “I have been to Chapman Bags a few times and always thought of it as a little gem within Carlisle. It should be better known within your own city let alone the country and internationally.

“I think the success of any business is down to good staff who are motivated and skilled, good management, investment in the business and the product, and you've got all these things and a fantastic product."

The MP was joined by Chapman Bags’ local suppliers who got an insight into how the company has already been able to increase the number of bags it makes by around 30 per cent.

Chief executive Cedric Stonex said the company had been happy to make this investment this year despite Brexit.

He said: “Like a lot of firms, we have had to increase our stock as we import leather from Italy and our customers have done likewise so we have seen a rise in orders from Europe ahead of the Brexit deadline which will probably drop off again.

“For 33 years the success of Chapman Bags has been built on the skills of our Carlisle workers and this year’s investment has allowed us to develop our workforce, providing them with more space, better training and promoting some of our loyal staff into new positions.”

“The investment was made at a time of great political uncertainty and we are hoping that any disruption to our ability to import materials and sell our bags abroad is kept to a minimum."