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BAE Systems (Samlesbury)

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

I have no plans to visit BAE Systems in Samlesbury; the Minister with responsibility for defence equipment and support, the Under-Secretary of State for Defence, my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham and Stamford (Mr. Davies), did so on 24 February 2010.

I am glad to hear that. I am sure that while the Minister was there, he would have seen more than 5,000 people working in one of the top-class work forces of the world. Given that BAE Systems in Samlesbury works as a magnet for more than 6,500 other jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises, does the Secretary of State agree that when we are procuring, we ought to procure from the very best, which happens to be in the United Kingdom?

Often that is so, and the north-west region, never mind the hon. Gentleman’s constituency, plays an important part in our defence capability. We need to ensure that we maintain such capability in vital areas. If we are going to provide capability for our armed forces in the long term, we cannot afford to take short-term and short-sighted decisions. Sometimes we need to ensure that industrial capability remains in place, and that is what the defence industrial strategy is designed to do—I hope that the hon. Gentleman supports it.