SECURING LOCAL JOBS: AT AN UNCERTAIN TIME, WE SHOULD WELCOME CERTAINTY

In the build up to a defining month, local MP Mark Tami (Lab, Alyn and Deeside) welcomes the news that a global company is pledging its future to the UK.

There is no need for me to say that a hugely important month lies ahead of us. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that it is one that may determine the future of our country as we vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.

However, with our gaze transfixed on Westminster, it can be easy to overlook what else is happening around the country.

This week, the Ministry of Defence announced a new £250 million contract with Raytheon UK, a leading technological innovation company specialising in defence, civil government and cyber solutions. This announcement will secure up to 200 jobs right here in Broughton at Hawarden Airport where Raytheon’s Aircraft Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations are based. These highly skilled, specialised jobs will provide the defence operations of our country with a unique capability and it is fantastic that they will now be locked down for over a decade.

We have a long and proud history with aircraft here in Broughton. Hawarden’s aircraft factory was completed in 1939 and made huge contributions during WWII. We celebrated 100 years of the Royal Air Force (RAF) last year, and we should be proud that here in Broughton, we continue to have a company that plays a vital role for the RAF and its fleet, most notably the Sentinel and Shadow aircraft, and helps to keep not just our country but our continent and our allies safe.

Here in Alyn and Deeside, we know better than most that there is nothing more rewarding than a secure job and decent pay for a proper day’s work. This is what we all want, and the commitment by Raytheon means that its workers and their families can now rest in this security.

In these uncertain times, we should applaud global companies like Raytheon who commit their long-term future to places such as Broughton. They are investing in local communities and local economies. Indeed, Raytheon’s investment in Broughton over 25 years hasn’t just helped this community, but the whole of Wales with over £40 million being pumped into the Welsh economy last year, including through procurement spend and the supply chain.

This announcement will help secure that investment for our future with 200 jobs now sustained. And as I’ve mentioned, these are highly skilled jobs – these workers embody some of the UK’s most advanced aircraft integration capabilities, with a stream of apprentices and graduates also being trained up. I was delighted when Raytheon decided to roll out their UK apprenticeship programme over six years ago in Broughton and it is great to see that a number of them have now gone on to become fully qualified Aircraft Engineers.

It is a real encouragement for the local community to see companies committing to the area. Whether it is students at Deeside College or children in local schools, commitments like this allow young people to envision what their future may hold.

This announcement will bring security to hundreds of highly skilled workers, will see the training of new apprentices from the local area, and will give local families the security that they need and deserve.

So as I head to Westminster at the start of this New Year to take part in crucial debates at a time of real uncertainty for us all, I can go assured that the future of a global company in our community at home is secure.