Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, has shared his disappointment at the news that BAE Systems are set to axe 1,000 jobs - with two Lancashire sites set to be hit hardest. Wharton and Salmesbury are two of BAE’s largest UK assembly plants, employing 9,000 staff across the sites.
Speaking from Westminster, Nigel Evans urged BAE to undertake a full consultation with staff across the two plants: “This decision is of massive detriment not only to my own constituency, but to Lancashire as a whole. I urge BAE systems to put emphasis on voluntary redundancy and offer transitional assistance to ensure redundant staff find new employment.”
Furthermore, Mr Evans has vowed to press the government to redouble its efforts to encourage increased sales exports of UK defence technology and ensure the Ministry of Defence procures its equipment in the UK.
“I am already working with Lindsay Hoyle on this issue, and we are currently in the process of contacting all the affected North West MPs to get them on board when representations are made to the Secretary of State for Defence.”
BAE Systems is one of the largest defence companies globally, ranking third based on 2015 revenue – it employs 34,000 people across its UK operations.
Commenting on the company’s significance in Lancashire, Nigel said: “The presence of BAE in the North West is sizable, providing literally thousands of skilled jobs to the region, I want to ensure that BAE has a strong presence in Lancashire for years to come. Not only is the company vital for the livelihoods of a small army of workers, it is crucial for a significant number of small-to-medium sized business that rely on BAE across the country.”
BAE Systems is yet to issue a statement on the news.