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.”

“Lib Dems in the coalition warned that this would damage Yeovil’s competitiveness for future orders. And now it has. What is now at risk here is Britain’s ability to build its own helicopters on a single integrated site at Yeovil.”

“The Prime Minster says she wants an Industrial Strategy. This is where we see if she is serious. I am informed that the MoD, apparently, owns the tooling and jigs to make the Wild Cat helicopter.

If this is the case then the Government should use this as a lever to insist that the work lost at GKN should moved to the main Yeovil site and not sent elsewhere, perhaps even Poland.

If they do then many of these local jobs and skills can remain in the area and Britain’s ability to build its own helicopters can be secured. If they do not, then all this talk of an industrial strategy is just empty words.”

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