Spotlight on defence future

Preston MP Mark Hendrick
Preston MP Mark Hendrick
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Preston MP Mark Hendrick is hosting a special meeting at the Houses of Commons with government and defence industry leaders in a bid to safeguard the future of thousands of Lancashire jobs.

The Labour politician is hosting the event with Bob Keen, head of government relations at BAE Systems, to look at key issues affecting the industry.

It comes after BAE Systems, which employs around 11,000 people in Lancashire, announced a sharp fall in profits earlier this month following further defence spending cuts in the United States.

The event will being attended by the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence Vernon Coaker MP and James Arbuthnot MP, chair of the Defence Select Committee.

Mr Hendrick said: “There are many key issues facing the industry at the moment. There is a need for greater infrastructure, particularly in the North West, so that we can compete globally.

“I want to particularly highlight the importance of skills and training to the industry and the role that technology and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or ‘drones’ will play in the future. It’s important that the government recognise the need for consistency and clarity when it comes to the aerospace industry and long term defence projects.”