New bid to ease BAe job losses

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A NEW Enterprise Zone will be established in Lancashire, with financial incentives for businesses setting up there, to help alleviate the 1,387 BAe Systems job losses announced last week.

BAe is looking to shed 565 jobs at its Samlesbury site and a further 822 at Warton. Chancellor George Osborne announced the new Enterprise Zone to help workers who are losing their jobs to find new employment. Another Enterprise Zone will be created in East Yorkshire, where BAe is cutting 900 jobs at its Brough plant.

Firms setting up in the two new zones will not have to pay business rates.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Osborne said: “We are going to get new companies into those sites, we are going to give jobs to people who have lost their jobs at BAe.”

The announcement has been warmly welcomed by Lancashire County Council, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and BAe Systems.

Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “We have been working very hard behind the scenes on this, with colleagues from BAe Systems and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, so I am very pleased that the government has recognised the strengths of the LEP’s original proposal.

“We will now start discussions with senior civil servants on the detail of how we press ahead and make this happen. We are looking forward to working with all parties involved, on what is a very positive development.”

Edwin Booth, chairman of the Lncashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “We were always confident that an enterprise zone at the BAe systems sites at Samlesbury and Warton would bring investment and employment to Lancashire.

“In the wake of difficult news last week it is more important than ever that we push ahead now to build on Lancashire’s strengths in advanced engineering and manufacturing. We are now talking to government about additional investments, aligned with the enterprise zone, which could benefit the county as a whole.”

A spokesman for BAe Systems added: “We very much welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of plans for new Enterprise Zones in Lancashire and on Humberside and the potential benefits this will bring in attracting new investment and employment into these regions. “We will work with the local Enterprise Partnerships, local and central Government to bring forward plans for our locations in these Zones. These will include a commitment to establish a new apprentice and adult training centre at one of our sites in the proposed Lancashire zone.”