Mark Menzies MP asks Prime Minister for support for BAE workers

Mark Menzies MP in Prime Minister's Question Time, asking the Prime Minister about support for BAE workers

Fylde MP Mark Menzies took the fight to sustain jobs at BAE’s Warton plant straight to the top – and called in Parliament on Prime Minister Theresa May to back Fylde’s highly-skilled aerospace workers.Mr Menzies made the call during Prime Minister’s Question Time, the day after BAE bosses revealed several hundred jobs could be at risk in Warton following a decision to slow production on the Eurofighter Typhoon final assembly line.

He met ministers before calling on Theresa May to ensure the Government backs the Warton aerospace workers by pressing for more Typhoon orders from abroad, and to ensure workers are supported as production slows down.

In Prime Minister’s Question Time, Mr Menzies said: “Following the announcement yesterday that BAE Systems plans to cut almost 2,000 jobs, with potentially hundreds of dedicated and highly skilled workers at Warton, in my constituency, facing redundancy, can the Prime Minister assure me that she and the Government will continue its support of the UK’s aerospace industry in winning contracts and exporting abroad.

“And can she assure those people affected that the Government will support them through this process and promote future growth in the wider Lancashire economy.”

With present orders of Eurofighter set to be completed by Autumn next year, BAE bosses took the decision to slow production to ensure the final assembly line remains operational while new orders for the aircraft are sought.

Prime Minister Theresa May told Mr Menzies and the House: “This is obviously a very worrying time for workers at BAE Systems, including those at Warton. My honourable friend raises two issues and I can assure him the Department for Work and Pensions will make sure that they work with people and make sure they have all the support they need to look for new jobs and that includes the rapid response service to help with CVs, training and benefits.

“But we will also continue to promote our world-leading defence industry right across the globe so that companies like BAE can win contracts for UK-made equipment.

“Just last month, my right honourable friend the Defence Secretary signed a Statement of Intent with Qatar for 24 Typhoon and six Hawks from BAE.

“We will continue to promote these first-class products fro first class manufacturers such as the one in my honourable friend’s constituency.

“We will also give support to those who do lose their jobs.”

Qatar has signed a Statement of Intent for 24 Typhoon, thought to be worth close to £2 billion, but the final deal has yet to be signed.

Saudi Arabia is also thought to be interested in purchasing more of the planes, with other deals also being pursued.

Mr Menzies said: “I know this will be a deeply unsettling time for the workers at BAE and I am hoping the company is working to the same model as last time, when hundreds of redundancies were announced and in reality, very few people left the business as they were deployed on other projects.

“They will be looking at what other opportunities there are for these workers, such as on BAE’s nuclear submarine and shipbuilding programmes.

“We also need to bear in mind that there are potentially lucrative contracts on the way from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others, which could help sustain these jobs.

“It is vital that the Typhoon production line be slowed down to prevent it from having to stop and be restarted in the future.

“I know everyone in Government will do all they can, from the Prime Minister down, to ensure these job losses are minimised, and further export orders are secured.”

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