Barnoldswick & Earby Time, Colne Times and Nelson Leader Column: Friday 8th March 2019

Last week, I visited Rolls-Royce's Ghyll Brow site to discuss the announcement late last year of further job losses. During the visit, I met with site management, spoke to workers on the factory floor and met with the trade union representative.

Whilst the recent investment of over £100million at the Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick sites is very welcome, significant falls in the demand for components made at the sites is having a big impact. This is therefore an uncertain time for workers and their families. I remain deeply concerned by the number of redundancies made by the company in recent years.

Rolls-Royce has assured me previously that there is a long-term future for their local sites and their recent level of investment is welcome. However, we need to see these sites gaining more work going forward, especially components for the future generation of engines, to ensure more job security for Pendle residents.

Following the visit, I met with the Minister for Business and Industry Richard Harrington MP, to discuss what can be done to support the jobs at the site. The Minister has committed to meeting with me again next week along with trade union representatives. Later this month I will also be meeting the Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce, Warren East. I will continue to put forward Pendle’s business needs to Ministerial colleagues and hope Rolls-Royce nationally see that our area has the talent, skill and motivation that is truly worthy of investment.

As well as Rolls-Royce, I have recently visited several other local businesses such as Scott Dawson Advertisers, Harvey Environmental to open their new offices and Refresco. It was encouraging to see all of them thriving. I am always keen to help Pendle’s businesses grow, bringing further jobs and prosperity to the area.

This week is National Apprenticeship Week and I was delighted to attend a Hospitality Apprenticeship Showcase on the House of Commons Terrace, to meet Angela Tsantarlioti, who works at White Bear in Barrowford and other apprentices.

I will be supporting Apprenticeship Week by meeting with students at Nelson & Colne College and was pleased earlier this week to meet Bilal Saleem, who came runner-up in the Association of Colleges’ Adult Student of the Year Award. Bilal completed his PGCE through the College whilst teaching there too, showing that learning never stops for any of us.