The loss of over 1,300 jobs at BAE Systems in Lancashire was discussed in the House of Commons today with a Preston MP describing the cuts as “tragic” for the city.
Labour MP Mark Hendrick raised the motion to demanding an explanation from the government as to why the defence spending was being cut so fast and so hard, which has been blamed for the BAE job losses.
Speaking earlier in the Commons, Mr Hendrick said: “Thousands of years of accumulated expertise and skills will be thrown aside. The loss of these workers will be tragic. Many will take retirement and be a lost to the industry forever. This Conservative led government does not consider the impact of its cuts.”
Mr Hendrick also lashed out at the government’s enterprise zones calling them a “sticking plaster” in solving economic woes.
He said: “BAE will now cut its production from 61 to 36 jets annually. How can the government justify cuts to our defence industry when we are edging towards recession?”
The debate also saw Conservative MP for Fylde Mark Menzies call the cuts “devastating”,
He said: “BAE Systems are an incredibly profitable, worldwide company. It’s also important to see that they do that everything is necessary. To make sure they always act in the interest of the workforce, and not just the interest of the shareholders.”
Mark Prisk, Business, Innovation and Skills Minister, says “I am acutely aware of the local impact that affects many people in this debate.”
Mr Prisk said the government was expanding the Typhoon program so the new builds were slowed but not stopped.
BAE Systems chief executive Ian King said last month the job losses were a result of changes to its Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Lightning II projects.
You can replay our live blog from the debate in Parliament here.
What do you think about the job losses? Are you affected? Let us know in the comments below