MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

THIS week I was keen to hear an announcement by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond on changes his department was planning on military procurement, as this could obviously have a major effect on BAE Systems, which employs several thousand people in Fylde.

The Government is looking at a number of options to improve the purchasing of major defence equipment contracts that will take complexity out of the process while hopefully saving the taxpayer money.

The Ministry of Defence believes this could reduce inefficiency in the procurement process, which costs the taxpayer between £1.3bn and £2.2bn a year.

During the debate I asked the minister what advantages this could bring for those working at Warton and he promised me that bringing in professional negotiators would streamline the process when major defence contractors, such as BAE Systems, deal with the Government.

He also said he felt this would give the industry here a leg up when going up against overseas competitors for military contracts, as British bids would be more professional and cost effective.

I will be keeping a close eye on the situation to ensure the new system works well for the industry.

One of the main events I attended last week was the Queen’s visit to BBC Broadcasting House in London.

I was honoured to be invited along to see Her Majesty officially open the renovated building.

New offices have been built as an extension of the original Broadcasting House and I was reminded of the history of the building, which opened in 1932, when the Queen commented that she had first visited with her father, King George VI, shortly before the war.

I was stood nearby when Her Majesty unveiled a plaque marking the occasion at a reception at the climax of her visit and it was a great privilege to be there at such an historic moment.

On Tuesday, I was pleased to attend an event on the commons terrace celebrating the work done by the North West Air Ambulance.

It is a vital service which helps many injured and seriously ill people each year and only keeps going because of the generosity of those who donate the funds to keep it running. It was a pleasure to meet some of the dedicated people responsible for ensuring it does.

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