The Industrial Strategy
Paddy Ashdown voice concerns about the absence of any commitment to Yeovil and appeals to Marcus Fysh MP to join in a joint campaign to persuade the Government to change its mind
“Sometimes it is silence that speaks loudest.
This Industrial Strategy mentions Airbus, Rolls Royce, Boeing, Bombardier Aerospace, GE Aviation ,GKN, Loughborough and Solihull. But it mentions neither helicopters or Yeovil once. Given the worries about preserving the UK’s stand alone ability to manufacture helicopters and the integrity of the Yeovil site I have repeatedly lobbied the Government to use the opportunity of the Industrial Strategy to state clearly the Government’s commitment to maintaining the full capacity to manufacture helicopters on the Yeovil site, the UK’s only stand alone helicopter manufacturing facility and as such a key part of the country’s aerospace industrial base. No such commitment is contained in this strategy paper. To say that this is disappointing would be an understatement. Like many others in the Yeovil community I feel let down and angry about this omission.
I am now informed that this is paper is being published for consultation only. But bitter and long experience has taught me what that means. What we have been looking for is not consultation, but influence on the Government by our local MP. It is inconceivable that, under the coalition when David Laws was our MP, a national Industrial Strategy like this would have been published without a clear commitment to preserve the full range of capacities of the Yeovil site.
I have repeatedly asked our MP Marcus Fysh to put aside politics and work with all the other political voices in Yeovil, including the Unions, to lobby the Government on a joint basis to provide this vital commitment for the future. He has repeatedly declined to do so. Instead of action, we have had only repeated announcements of re-cycled news. The absence of a clear commitment to preserving of the full capacities of the Yeovil site is a very serious omission. I appeal to Mr Fysh again join us in a joint lobbying exercise to persuade the Government to change its mind.”