Rocket Caravans

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Rocket Caravans's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Rocket Caravans is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Rockets in build
Rocket headquarters,
Rocket Caravans Ltd pride themselves on being the leading
manufacturer of retro aluminium caravans in the UK.
Managing Director Peter Carrick tells
The Parliamentary
that the company originally imported vintage aluminium
trailers from the US, but it quickly became clear that something
very different was required to meet the needs of today’s buyers.
Nine years and more than 200 caravans later, Peter says the firm
has evolved to offer a range of products of which its workforce
is justifiably proud.
Building high-end Rockets for customers as diverse as the BBC, Krispy Kreme and
West Midlands Safari Park requires a high degree of skill and ingenuity from our
workforce. Fortunately, there is still a pool of workers with the required standard of
engineering skills, who are prepared to work flexibly and contribute to the general
team effort. We currently employ a total of 14 workshop and administrative staff,
all of whom tend to stay with us for the long term.
From our manufacturing base in Worcestershire, we export Rockets all around the
world, from the US to the Middle and Far East, Australia, and New Zealand. We feel
that we make a small but significant contribution towards Britain’s exports, as around
40 per cent of our £1 million turnover is accounted for by exports. We build between
35 and 40 Rockets each year with a lead time of up to six months, due todemand.
For individual clients we custom-build commercial trailers, many of which are for
the food and drink sector or touring purposes. Our biggest challenges tend to
come from corporate clients with unique requests. Krispy Kreme, for instance,
required us to install a kit form trailer inside their Birmingham store in Selfridges.
»Managing Director:
»Established in 2010
»Based in Kidderminster,
»Services: Manufacturer of
vintage caravans
»No. of employees: 14
Rocket Caravans
Highlighting best practice
In 2014, Brooks Guesthouse,
Bristol, required four Rockets to be
craned onto their roof to be used as
additional guest rooms, rooms which
are still being used today. Although
challenging, we always relish delivering
unique projects such as these.
Striving to be the best
From the outset, we aimed to be
the very best manufacturer in our
product area. We originated the idea
of recreating the vintage American
trailer shape, with a twist of modern
technology thrown in. As a result,
we have constantly sought out new
products and processes, making it
simpler for our workforce to build
Rockets and making our products
more user-friendly and reliable.
We believe in listening to, and
involving, our entire workforce in the
various stages of production, and we
strive to provide them with optimum
working conditions and rewards. A
happy workforce is a great asset,
which many employers do not seem to
understand. This is noticed by potential
customers visiting Rocket HQ prior to
placing an order with us, speaking
volumes about the quality of the
product itself, and the level of care put
into building it.
Basic items including the sheet
metal, chassis, lighting and windows
are sourced, as much as possible,
from within the UK or EU. For other
components, such as light pods and
formed metal sections, we use local
engineering companies, helping to
provide further employment in the UK
through our suppliers.
Adapting to regulation and
Since 2012, all new trailers intended
for road use in the UK have been
required to carry proof of compliance
with EU trailer regulations, with most
Themed Rocket in
children’s play area, West
Midlands Safari Park
More Rockets in build
From our
base in
we export
Rockets all
around the
small-scale manufacturers opting to
have their trailers individually tested
by the Driver and Vehicle Standards
Agency, formerly the Vehicle and
Operator Services Agency. The test,
known as the individual vehicle
approval for trailers, covers businesses
making or importing a single or very
small number of trailers.
To our surprise, we discovered that
almost no European countries were
prepared to accept the UK individual
approval. This proved to be a severe
impediment to sales, as EU customers
were unable to register Rockets in
relevant member states. This was an
odd situation, considering that the
UK test showed compliance with
After much deliberation, we decided
to gain European Type Approval for
the whole Rocket range of caravans,
which was a sizeable investment for a
company of our production volume.
In view of current political uncertainty,
and the ongoing changes in legislation
and regulation that will undoubtedly
roll on for several years to come, we
opted to gain the approval through the
Dutch state agency, RDW.
We have seen several benefits
following this decision. Firstly, it fitted
nicely into our internal culture of
quality control, as the entire production
process has to be clearly and closely
documented and monitored for
RDW. It has also raised our standards
to a new level and given us greater
credibility in the marketplace.
Most importantly, gaining EU Type
Approval means that however future
legislation affects manufacturers
like us, we will still be able to trade
with European nation states, as our
products carry certification which
is recognised by all states. The
consultants that helped us through
this process, Hestocon, have bases in
the UK and the Netherlands and so
they will be able to make sure that,
whatever the future holds, we will be
able to keep abreast of the strictest of
both UK and EU regulations.
We believe in
listening to,
and involving,
our entire
workforce in
the various
stages of
Mini-Plus 15-foot
touring caravan

This article was sponsored by Rocket Caravans. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development