I have co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister calling for action to be taken by the Government to stop the planned jobs losses at BAE Systems from happening.
The letter calls on the Prime Minister to look at the option of bringing forward orders to provide additional work for BAE’s employees, such as replacing the Red Arrows’ fleet of Hawk aircraft.
By ordering a new fleet of planes to be used by the iconic RAF Aerobatic Display Team, the government will not only help mitigate the job losses, but will also guarantee the continued production of the Hawk in the UK.
The current Out of Service Date (OSD) for the Hawk Tmk1 aircraft, which includes the Red Arrows, has recently been extended from 2020 until 2030.
At the present time, 40% of a new Hawk is manufactured at the BAE Systems site at Brough, East Yorkshire, with the remainder being built across the Pennines at Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire. But there are many businesses that supply parts for the Hawk who are based in North East Wales.
I urge the government to play its part in supporting UK defence manufacturing jobs. The centre of manufacturing for the Hawk is in the East Riding of Yorkshire, but there are many jobs in North East Wales which are linked to the defence industry. If no action is taken it will have a direct impact upon us.
The UK has a long history of producing some of the best aircraft in the world. If we continue to see job losses on the scale proposed by BAE Systems it could result in the UK losing the skills we have to build such precision engineering. The Government has embarked on Brexit negotiations whilst simultaneously undertaking negotiations on who gets to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. This provides nothing but uncertainty for businesses.
The letter I have co-signed is a cross-party proposal and the Government should work with us to secure jobs in the defence industry. We need to support our manufacturing sector, not ignore it, as its importance for the economy at large is huge.