MPs call on Government to act over ‘devastating’ BAE job losses
Ministers have been urged to do more to prevent hundreds of job losses after defence giant BAE Systems announced plans to cut 2,000 posts across the UK.
Business Minister Claire Perry said she was “disappointed to hear the news” but insisted it was “not related to any UK defence spending decisions”.
In response to an Urgent Question tabled by Labour, she told the Commons the Government stood “ready to support fully those affected,” and was “reviewing what support we can offer to the company as it goes through this process.”
But angry MPs rounded on Ms Perry, with Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith calling the decision ”devastating” and demanding a plan to secure the jobs.
BAE announced this morning that it will cut 750 posts at two firms in Lanacashire, another 400 posts in East Yorkshire and 230 at RAF Marham.
It will also slash 340 maritime jobs in the Portsmouth and Solent region and a further 180 in London, Guildford and elsewhere, totalling almost 2,000 across the country.
BAE said in a statement earlier, the changes would "boost competitiveness, accelerate technology innovation and improve operational excellence".
Ms Griffiths told MPs: “The loss of nearly 2,000 highly skilled jobs is nothing short of devastating for communities and local economics that have a proud history of defence manufacturing.”
The Shadow Defence Secretary blamed the “stop-start” approach to defence contracts and “gaping funding holes in the MOD's defence equipment plan,” for not providing the industry with enough certainty.
It was time, she said, “for the Government to come forward with a proper defence industrial strategy to enable us to plan ahead.”
Preston MP Mark Hendrick, who tabled the Urgent Question, said Lancashire MPs had put together an emergency taskforce to “avert this disaster,” and called for a “swift, meaningful and positive response,” from ministers.
John Woodcock, whose Barrow and Furness constituency relies heavily on defence contractors, added: “We’ve heard a lot of commitment in words here but we actually need to see action from the Government.”