Local MP, Jack Lopresti has met with the Secretary of State for Defence to discuss the effects on constituents following the Strategic Defence and Security Review announced by the Prime Minister on Tuesday.
Jack secured a private meeting with the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox to discuss how the review would directly affect his constituents. Tuesday’s announcement did have good news for the residents of Filton and Bradley Stoke; the Prime Minister confirmed that the A400M programme, built by Airbus in Filton, would go ahead seeing 22 of the transport aircraft ordered and the news that 14 specially converted Airbus A330 strategic transport and tanker aircraft will replace the ageing TriStar fleets.
However the Government did announce cuts to civilian workers within the Ministry of Defence, and it is expected that a portion of these could come from the MoD procurement centre at Abbey Wood. On Tuesday Jack expressed his “deep concern” about the impact of the reduction of MoD staff and how it would affect the procurement centre, promising to meet with Dr Fox to gain clarification on any impact.
Following the meeting on Wednesday morning at the MOD Headquarters in Whitehall, the Secretary of State wrote to the MP in response to the concerns that were raised. The Secretary of State said that “the MOD is committed to make staff reductions by any means possible before recourse to compulsory redundancy.”
Referring to the representations that Mr Lopresti made during the SDSR process Dr Fox said: “I appreciate the energy with which you have represented the interests of your constituents”
Jack said: “I am very grateful that the Secretary of State took the time to meet with me to discuss this important issue. Whilst I am delighted that the A400M programme is going ahead securing hundreds of jobs, I have expressed my concern over the reductions to MOD staff and how this could affect Abbey Wood. I am hopeful that the review process will be able to make the required savings through natural wastage and a recruitment freeze. We will know more detail in due course and I will be representing Abbey Wood throughout the process.”
The MP and the Secretary of State are in the process of arranging a site visit to the MOD centre at Abbey Wood to discuss the concerns directly with staff.