NEW enterprise zones will be set up to help tackle the problems caused by defence giant BAE Systems’ plans to slash almost 3,000 jobs, George Osborne announced today.
The zones, which will feature measures to help encourage businesses to the area, will be near BAE sites in Warton and Samlesbury and Brough in East Yorkshire.
The Chancellor said the zones, set to be in place by April next year, were a sign that the Government would not “stand on the sidelines” while highly-skilled manufacturing jobs were being cut.
He said: “What we are announcing today, to help those workers at BAE is a new enterprise zone around the Warton and Samlesbury sites. We are going to work with the company to design that zone, in exactly the right location.
“It will be an area that new companies can come in to, get a big tax break for doing so, set up, create jobs to some of the very skilled people who sadly face redundancy at the moment.
“So this Government does not stand on the sidelines when things like this happen, in BAE or any other company. We get in there, we roll up our sleeves and take action to help local people get back in to work.”
Mr Osborne said talks were at an early stage, but added: “I hope in the next few weeks to come back with fully finalised details so that the new enterprise zones can get going from the beginning of April and we can create hundreds of new jobs, both at Warton and potentially at Samlesbury, to compensate for the hundreds of jobs, potentially, that are going to be lost.”
Sites across the country will suffer cutbacks under BAE’s plans announced last week, while the firm signalled the end of production at its factory in Brough, Yorkshire, which currently employs 1,300 workers.
Mr Osborne said the job losses were partly the result of defence cutbacks around the world, including in the USA.
He said: “Of course we were all very upset with the news BAE were cutting jobs ... but doing so because other governments, like the American government, were trying to cut their defence budgets.”