Lord Ashdown presses for answers in Parliament on the Government’s Industrial Strategy

Speaking today in the House of Lords, Lord Ashdown asked Baroness Mobarik:

“May I draw the Minster’s attention to the fact that, in the light of the more than 250 job losses in Yeovil, I have just written to the Secretary of State for Defence to ask him to assure me that the preservation of Britain’s only stand-alone capacity for helicopter production in Yeovil will be part of the National Industrial Strategy. The Secretary of State has not yet answered this question. Will the Minster?”

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Lib Dems speak out against County Council on the brink of Bankruptcy

Liberal Democrats say it comes as no surprise Somerset has been in the news today highlighting the crisis in adult care services, Somerset County Council is on the brink of bankruptcy because of huge over spends and financial mismanagement from tory leadership.

Opposition Leader Jane Lock said:

"as we approach winter it is even more worrying Somerset can't provide the care vulnerable people need. To enable them leave hospital and to get back home preventing bed blocking or to remain independent in their own homes for as long as possible.”

“There are some innovative ideas being tried but too little too late and with a projected overspend on adult care services approaching £15million it is clear a crisis is imminent."

“Liberal Democrats believe there are better and more cost effective ways of delivering care. Somerset needs to learn from other authorities and organisations where there many examples of successfully improving services without overspending at the rate we are here."

Lord Ashdown writes again to Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon asking the Government to ensure the future of aerospace in Yeovil

The Right Hon Michael Fallon MP,

Secretary of State for Defence

Ministry of Defence,





Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Dear Michael,

I hope you received my last letter and am sure you will have had my question in the Lords on the present situation in GKN Yeovil, brought to your attention[1].

I am grateful to you for arranging for me to speak today with Harriett Baldwin MP the Minister for Defence Procurement.

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Ashdown raises GKN job losses and Yeovil’s future in Parliament

Paddy Ashdown pressed the Government to make a clear statement, within the Prime Minster’s “Industrial Strategy”, that it is committed to retaining Britain’s stand alone capability to design, manufacture and assembly helicopters, as a vital part of Britain’s aerospace and defence industrial base.

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Lord Ashdown writes to Sectary of State Michael Fallon expressing concern about potential GKN Yeovil job losses and the future of Britain’s helicopter industry

The Right Hon Michael Fallon MP,

Secretary of State for Defence

Ministry of Defence,




Wednesday, 12 October 2016


Dear Michael

I had hoped to see you to discuss the situation with Leonardo and GKN in Yeovil and its impact on Britain’s Aerospace industry. I understand that you cannot find time in your programme for an urgent meeting but have arranged a meeting tomorrow with the Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin MP.

I am writing this letter to lay out the issues before that meeting.

I am extremely concerned that Britain’s stand alone capacity to manufacture helicopters, which has been for so long a vital part of our Aero-space industry, is in serious jeopardy, as a result of the events leading up to the recent Leonardo decision to ship back to Italy, all AW159 “Wild Cat” structure work, currently being carried out at GKN Yeovil.

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Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson Daisy Benson calls on Secretary of State Greg Clark to visit Yeovil to meet high tech businesses

Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate Daisy Benson has invited Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to meet with hi-tech businesses in Yeovil.

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Daisy Benson welcomes South Somerset District Council support for GKN workers

Responding to the news that South Somerset District Council will be extending support to workers affected by potential GKN job losses, Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate said:

'I wrote to the Council Leader on Friday calling for urgent action in support of local people affected. This is a welcome development at what must be a worrying time for GKN workers and their families. 

'The Lib Dems  have as record of standing up for jobs and local people and we will continue to work on this issue for the benefit of all involved.'

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Lord Ashdown speaks from Westminster on Government Approach to Helicopter Procurement


Speaking from Westminster today, Lord Paddy Ashdown said today:

"These job losses are the inevitable consequence of the short-sighted decision to purchase Apache helicopters made in the US rather than the UK.”

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Yeovil Lib Dem PPC Daisy Benson calls for urgent action to save local jobs

Commenting on the news that 230 employees were sent home from GKN in Yeovil this morning and the future of a major local employer thrown into doubt, Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate, Daisy Benson, said:

‘This is deeply worrying and my thoughts are with the workers and families affected.

‘If Theresa May is serious about what she says about protecting British jobs then her government must act now to save vital jobs and businesses in Yeovil.

‘I’ve raised the matter urgently with local and national decision-makers and I am seeking the following action in support:

  1. An urgent question to be tabled by Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons
  2. Asked Lord Ashdown to raise the matter urgently with the Minister of State
  3. Asked the District Council to urgently investigate what support can be given to workers affected, following support given to Westland in previous years
  4. Requested an urgent meeting with management and unions at GKN
  5. Call upon the public to sign our petition supporting the helicopter manufacturing industry in Yeovil and South Somerset 

Lord Ashdown reacts to GKN statement

Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, former MP for Yeovil, reacts to GKN statement on the plans to scale down or close their activity in Yeovil. Saying:  

“This is very worrying news indeed for Yeovil and South Somerset.”

“I am waiting to discuss these events with the management in the Yeovil factory. Meanwhile, I will be working with my colleague, the Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Daisy Benson to see what action can be taken in Parliament and locally to address the situation.”

“It is at present too early to say whether Brexit has had any part to play in these job losses which seem primarily to be the consequence of the Government’s foolish to decision to buy helicopters made abroad rather than at Yeovil.”

“Our community is paying a heavy price for a local MP who has neither the standing or the energy to gain influence nor voice over the decisions made by a short-sighted Government.”

“Meanwhile this is a challenge for Theresa May as well. She declared that her government would have industrial strategy. Now she must come clean – does that include Britain having helicopter industry or not. If so then the government must take action to address the damage that has been done by their shortsightedness, If not then we will know where to look. When further damage is done to Britain’s helicopter industry and the Yeovil and south Somerset community.” 

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