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Mr Mark Hendrick (Preston) (Lab/Co-op)
(Urgent Question): To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy if she will make a statement on the likelihood of over 1,000 jobs being lost across the north of England at BAE Systems Military Air & Information sites.
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Claire Perry)
I know that the Government, and indeed all of us, are disappointed to hear the news that BAE Systems is considering reductions of up to 1,400 staff in its military air and information business, 375 in its maritime services division and 150 in its applied intelligence business. This is a concerning time for those working for BAE Systems, particularly in the run-up to Christmas.
That is why I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the Government stand ready to support fully those affected. Indeed, colleagues across the Ministry of Defence, my Department and others are reviewing what support we can offer the company as it goes through this process. Of course, the Department for Work and Pensions is also standing by to provide whatever advice or support is required.
I would like to set out three main points. First, I will provide an update on the process; secondly, I will explain the rationale for the changes; and thirdly, I will set out what the Government are doing to support BAE Systems and this vital sector with our business. The company will now enter a 30-day statutory consultation process, and no final decisions will be taken about the level or type of redundancies until that process is complete.
The Government will continue to work with BAE Systems to ensure that compulsory redundancies are kept to a minimum, and the company assures us that the reductions will be managed on a voluntary basis as far as possible. I emphasise that, as is usual in such cases, the DWP rapid response team is engaged and standing by, ready to deploy.
It is incredibly important that the skills that people in the workforce have built up are retained in the UK industry as far as possible. That is why we will be using the talent retention system that was designed by my Department, working with the sector, to ensure that vital skills are not lost to the UK. (end of excerpt)
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