BAE Systems

Part of Backbench Business — [Un-allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 2:13 pm on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Percy Andrew Percy Conservative, Brigg and Goole 2:13 pm, 24th November 2011

The point is that this has not been a political debate.

I want to discuss the impact on east Yorkshire and my constituents in north Lincolnshire, a number of whom work at BAE Systems. It was brought home to me on the day of the announcement when my secretary, whose husband works at BAE, contacted me distraught about what was happening. Practically everyone who lives in east Yorkshire knows somebody who works at, or is connected to, the factory. As my colleague and near neighbour, the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull East will attest—we were two boys at Hull comprehensives—when we went to school in the ’80s and ’90s if someone wanted an apprenticeship, they got one either at BAE Systems or at Saltend with BP. The vast majority of my compatriots and friends at school did not go to university but, like their parents, worked—and continue to work—at BAE Systems.

As Members have said on both sides, the company is rooted in east Yorkshire, and the impact of its leaving will be indescribable not just on the work force but because of the work it does in local schools and through pairing with universities and colleges. As Diana Johnson said, the Humber economy is in a pretty poor state, and has been for a long time. Over the past 10 years, we have lost private sector jobs along the Humber at a time when the rest of the country was growing private sector jobs. We are in a bad state, and the consequences of losing these 800 jobs will be indescribable.

The Minister used the word “disingenuous”. That is what we all feel about BAE Systems’ actions. As the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull East said, when we met BAE Systems in July—the unions and everyone who has spoken have attested to this—we were told that although things were tough, the company was expecting Hawk contracts and that the most recent round of redundancies had secured the site and the business for the future. We expected those contracts to be landed and those jobs to be secured.