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Economy and Jobs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:06 pm on 20th January 2020.

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Photo of Marcus Fysh Marcus Fysh Conservative, Yeovil 9:06 pm, 20th January 2020

My hon. Friend makes a good point. The Government have some interesting judgments to make. I would not want to gainsay, but there is a strong rationale for investing throughout our country that needs to be put before Ministers. I hope he will do the same for his area.

It is important that we get proper skills development into our regional areas, and I want to mention our further education colleges in Yeovil. Yeovil College is a particularly good example of a top-performing college that is able to improve the life chances of people in regional areas. Often, when there is not a university in an area, further education colleges are the only opportunity that people have to change their skill level and skill type, so that they can change jobs and take advantage of job creation.

The helicopter industry is very important to the Yeovil sub-regional area. Leonardo, based in my constituency, is a military helicopter manufacturer and the only end-to-end aerospace manufacturer left in the UK. It supports more than 10,000 jobs in the supply chain, which is incredibly important. The Government have said that they want to reform defence procurement. When we are looking at value for money, we must consider the holistic impact on a community of having such a big employer with such big projects. It makes a huge difference. We cannot just look at the headline costs; we have to look at all the consequential costs and the value throughout the community.