‘Brain drain’ fears of business chief

Babs Murphy
Babs Murphy
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Business chiefs have warned of a ‘brain drain’ in Lancashire after a triple whammy of council cuts, BAE job losses and HMRC offices closing.

The county suffered a series of devastating blows on Thursday and Friday, with the announcement that 371 jobs were to go at BAE Systems closely followed by news that three HMRC offices would be closing down.

BAE is a global player and the Typhoon is an exceptional aircraft but it faces, like many other industries, challenging global competition

It was also revealed that Lancashire County Council, the county’s largest employer, is being forced to make an extra £223m in savings – inevitably leading to job losses and service cuts.

Babs Murphy, the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive called on BAE to do all it could to find work elsewhere in the company for those at risk.

She said: “BAE is a global player and the Typhoon is an exceptional aircraft but it faces, like many other industries, challenging global competition.

“It is vital that skills and capability are maintained by BAE Systems and indeed the local supply chain.”

Meanwhile Elaine Cotterell, Lancashire branch secretary of public services union Unison, revealed the branch will launch a major anti-cuts campaign in January, with posters on buses, leafleting and lobbying.

The union will meet local council workers next week to discuss the cuts which were revealed in The Gazette on Friday and officially announced by the County Council on Monday.

She said: “The extent of it will be a terrible shock for many staff and members. Obviously they know there are cuts. Next week and by the end of this month when the cabinet makes decisions it will become a harsh reality at probably one of the worst times of the year.”

She added: “The public needs to really understand what it means to them.

“We’re going to see services stopped.”

Lancashire County Council leader Jennifer Mein said: “I‘m very sad to hear about the job losses at BAE Systems and HMRC, which unfortunately reflect the very difficult times we are living in.”