Nick Griffin MEP has expressed his grave concern at news that BAE Systems is cutting 3,000 defence industry jobs, mostly across the north of England. Within his North West constituency, between Preston and Blackpool, lies the Typhoon fighter plane assembly plant at Warton.
As well as Warton, jobs are likely to go in Samlesbury in Lancashire, and Brough, East Yorkshire.
Union leaders have rightly described defence cuts as a “hammer blow” to the defence industry. There is speculation that 900 jobs will be cut at Brough, 820 at Warton and 560 at Samlesbury, with hundreds more at smaller BAE sites.
BAE Systems owns a 33 per cent stake in the Eurofighter joint venture company, which was established in 1994 in a collaboration between the UK's BAE, EADS in Germany and Spain and Alenia Finmeccanica of Italy.
It is arguably the world's most advanced combat aircraft – capable of reaching speeds of 1.8 mach. BAE makes parts including much of the fuselage and the tail fins. Three thousand staff are employed on the Typhoon programme, mainly at Samlesbury and Warton. However, production of the Typhoon is to be slowed because of a gap between current production and future export orders, as many countries make budget cuts.
Nick Griffin MEP commented: "This is another blow for UK manufacturing and will hit Lancashire and Yorkshire hard. It isn't just the job losses at BAE, which are bad news enough, but also other jobs which rely on them in the local economies. In the bankers’ recession it is going to be difficult for people to find new work, and that's bad for them and their families."
Last year's defence review already adversely affected jobs at BAE, with up to 2,500 jobs being cut as a direct result of government decisions.
Ian Godden, chairman of ADS, the UK's aerospace, defence and security trade organisation, said: "There is real concern in the industry that recent news of potential job losses are only the tip of the iceberg.
"With defence currently supporting over 300,000 jobs, the 10 per cent cut in Government defence spending is estimated to lead to the loss of between 20,000 and 30,000 highly skilled jobs in the UK, often in localities where deprivation is already above the national average.
"The current approach to defence spending causes the country to go in the opposite direction to stated Government policy on rebalancing the economy towards high-technology, advanced manufacturing with support for small businesses."