It was a fantastic week for two of Fylde’s largest employers, most notably with the launch of Great British Nuclear ushering in a new generation for the nuclear industry and opening the door to a successful and sustainable future for the hundreds of employees at Springfields.
Great British Nuclear is about turning the Government’s positive words on our nuclear future into action. It was therefore hugely encouraging that the launch was quickly followed by confirmation that the Nuclear Fuel Fund is making three grants, worth a total of £11 million, to enhance the Springfields site for the manufacture of fuels for the latest reactor designs, such as the AP1000 and the AP300 small modular reactor. With 800 people currently employed on site, I am confident that this money will safeguard these jobs and create growth opportunities as the site fuels our reactors of the future.
At a time of increasing global uncertainty and threats to our democratic principles, the Prime Minister showed his commitment to upholding these values as he visited Lithuania for the NATO summit, while Friday saw the Royal Air Force and BAE Systems host the Royal International Air Tattoo.
The Tattoo saw Fylde manufactured Typhoons and other aircraft taking to the skies to show off the capabilities of their cutting edge technologies. Following up on this, I spoke in the House of Commons about my pride in the role that Fylde, and the North West more generally, is continuing to play in defending us and our allies.
There are already over 2,500 people working to deliver our Future Combat Air System (FCAS), commonly known at Team Tempest, including significant numbers at Warton, a number set only to grow as the project progresses after deals earlier this year with the Japanese and Italian Governments. The coming years will also see the next generation of submarine built at Barrow following the AUKUS (Australia-UK-US) deal, creating an estimated 7,000 jobs directly via multi-billion-pound investment in the site. Countless more jobs are anticipated in the supply chain, with Lancashire’s world-renowned defence industry set to play a leading role.
Gambling related harms have been a serious and growing worry for me, particularly over recent years with the rise of online gambling, a hugely profitable industry which has seen our televisions taken over by a constant barrage of adverts not only for sports betting, but for online bingo and casino style games.
Last week I raised my concerns during Parliamentary question regarding the rise of these online games and the impact they are having. These are issues which often go under the radar and which disproportionately affect women, with data indicating a doubling in the number of women impacted. Having spoken with Fylde residents who have experienced gambling related addictions, I thanked the Minister for his work on the Gambling White Paper but urged him to continue efforts to make it easier for women to talk about their experiences of problem gambling, ending stigmatisation and encouraging people to seek help.