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Replacing lost Barrow Trident jobs just a ‘fantasy’ MP claims

IT is fantasy to claim it would be possible to replace all the jobs lost in Barrow if Trident is scrapped, John Woodcock has said.

FUTURE BAE Systems’ Devonshire Dock Hall in Barrow. The Westminster launch of the Nuclear Education Trust’s report into the Trident Alternatives Review and the future of shipbuilding in Barrow took place yesterday LINDSEY DICKINGS REF: 50007121B001

The Barrow and Furness MP attended the Westminster launch of the Nuclear Education Trust’s report into the Trident Alternatives Review and the future of Barrow.

It concluded, while Barrow is heavily dependent on BAE Systems as an employer, “the economic impact of an option other than like-for-like replacement is not “a ‘binary’ choice between 6,000 employed or none”.

Mr Woodcock said after yesterday’s meeting: “I am working really hard to look at ways in which we can diversify the economy, but this is a debate where a lot of people come with preconceptions.

“I think it is important we do not get distracted from the fact that up until now there has been nothing which has been shown could protect the country as effectively and cost-effectively as ballistic missiles fired from submarines.

“The national and international climate is really difficult at the moment. Barrow has to fight for every business and every investment, and we have had some success.

“But the idea we can suddenly find something that can replace 5,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs is a fantasy.

“We have to guard against people making well-meaning but infuriatingly vague assertions that Barrow should be found alternative work when actually there is nothing that would match the level of investment that submarine building produces.”

Mr Woodcock warned the meeting to guard against people arguing for different forms of nuclear deterrence as a “Trojan Horse” for getting out of altogether. He stressed a decision not to proceed with a like-for-like, continuous at sea deterrent would impact not just now but well into the future.

He said: “It is not simply a matter of jobs disappearing in future decades.”

If the UK stopped building submarines, it was probable both Barrow and the UK would never be able to manufacture them again and the nation would have to buy “off-the-shelf” from other countries.

Mr Woodcock said some suggestions on what Barrow could build instead, like wind turbines, were interesting but did not come close to submarines, while others, such as glass-bottomed leisure submarines were wishful thinking, if not barking mad.

Terry Waiting, chairman of the Keep Our Future Afloat campaign, told the Evening Mail: “What this report seems to ignore is in the North West alone there are more than 90 supply chain companies with a value of around £78m feeding into that.

“To just switch submarine building off in Barrow and go into a new venture will take a long time and cost a lot of money – I can’t see the private sector doing that.”

Former defence minister Sir Nick Harvey told the meeting they were talking about another generation of weapons of mass destruction, and if the UK should remain a nuclear power until 2070.

“The industrial consequences must be taken into account, but we cannot possibly make a decision of that magnitude on the basis of the industrial considerations.

“We have to determine on national security and then deal with the industrial implications, it cannot be the other way round.”

Have your say

When are we going to learn to diversify the economy? How many young educated people stay in Barrow? How many business fail to succeed? Barrow seriously needs to evaluate itself and start providing opportunities, how many young educated people stay in Barrow? A handful and the rest we lose to successful towns and cities who are serious about the future of their economy.

Posted by Nicola on 19 December 2012 at 12:00

Jay,I bet half of those on the minimum wage
and many of those on no wage at all would do more good to our economy if they were allowed to work in this country,for a good wage instead of being paid a pittance.
Manufacturing over seas is now starting to become as expensive as the goods we used to produce.
Those goods made in other EU countries are about the same costs as here.
Ask the Greeks/Spanish/Italians and others
and that is now starting to include China.
Don't be fooled into thinking that every thing that goes abroad will in time be cheaper.
When these countries have run the course of
keeping our work force on the dole,we will have an inept attitude to work.
Far better to have some work than none,and if we don't try to regain our manufacturing base,we could be in the wilderness for
hundreds of years.

Posted by Dicky on 18 December 2012 at 16:19

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