Lord Ashdown asked the Minster making a statement on the Nissan deal in the House of Lords yesterday the following question:
“My Lords, the Government’s welcome clarity, albeit given in secret to Nissan, has assured the continuation of car jobs in Sunderland and the north.”
“Does the Minister realise that their lack of commitment and uncertainty has contributed to costing some 290 high-tech aircraft engineering jobs in Yeovil?"
“I will see if I can explain. The Government put an order for Apache to Boeing without any kind of competitive tender whatever.
“In consequence, the confidence has been eroded in the Government’s wish to see a continuation of the helicopter design and manufacturing industry in Yeovil—the only one in Britain. That has contributed to the loss of 290 jobs just recently, with Leonardo probably going to Italy.”
“Does the Minister agree that any attempt to produce any kind of industrial policy that did not say clearly that it wished to see Britain’s aerospace industry maintained, and our standalone capacity to make helicopters sustained, would not be worth the paper it was written on?”