7. What steps his Department is taking in response to recent job losses announced by BAE Systems. (76859)
The Government’s first priority is to support the individuals whose jobs may be at risk. To that end, the Jobcentre Plus rapid response service is providing support, training and careers advice. The Government are also working with the Lancashire and the Humber local enterprise partnerships on two potential new enterprise zones to support local economies.
What role does my hon. Friend think that group training associations can play in redeploying and supporting those who have lost their jobs? In Lancashire we have Training 2000, the biggest GTA in the country, which is already working closely with Rolls-Royce and other businesses that are currently recruiting.
The Government greatly value the role of group training associations. They are crucial, which is why we are supporting them through the growth innovation fund. However, I note the individual case that my hon. Friend has raised.
What is the reason for the reversal of the decision on the Lancashire enterprise zones in September? In August a bid had been turned down, and job losses had been agreed by the Ministry of Defence in July. That sequence of events suggests that the MOD was not talking to BIS, and that BIS made a reckless decision in August which was overturned by the Treasury. Can the Minister explain?
There was a real problem for the workers in that area, and we responded positively by providing the additional two enterprise zones. I hope the hon. Gentleman welcomes that.