Mark leads debate in Parliament on BAE job losses

(October 28, 2011)

On Thursday, 27th October, Mark led a debate on BAE job losses in Lancashire following the recent announcement that they plan to axe 1423 jobs at Warton (822) and Samlesbury (565).

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mark criticised the decision and said: “this is a devastating blow - first and foremost for the workers and their families, but also for the local economy and Britain’s wider manufacturing and defence industries.  BAE Systems employs about 40,000 people in the UK, down from 42,000 in 2009.  Almost half of these jobs are based in the North West, and given the work’s technical nature the majority of workers are highly skilled. In Preston and Fylde, one in four residents working in manufacturing works at BAE Systems.”

With unemployment at a 17 year high, Mark went on to emphasise the shocking employment figures in Preston: “between 2008 and 2010, Preston lost 4,800, or 5.1%, employee jobs. That is a tragedy.”

A big reason behind BAE’s decision has been the policies of the Conservative government. “How can the Government justify massive cuts to our defence industry when the economy is edging towards recession? These cuts go too far, too fast and are resulting in the slowdown in production of the Typhoon aircraft. As in so many other areas, the Government’s strategic defence review was rushed and ill thought through. Labour Members recognise that some savings must be made, but they should be part of a carefully constructed industrial strategy, not a rushed and ideologically driven SDSR. Simply put, this Conservative-led Government does not understand the consequences that their policies have on workers, on businesses or on the manufacturing economy as a whole.”

During the debate, Mark pressured the government to say what they will do to make Typhoon aircraft more competitive and what steps they are taking to persuade countries like India and Japan to buy the aircraft.   

Click here to view the full text of the debate.

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