Government says BAE Systems job cuts are down to restructuring and pledges to fully support those affected

Rebecca Smith
BAE has announced job cuts citing an order gap for the Typhoon aircraft as one of the reasons
BAE has announced job cuts citing an order gap for the Typhoon aircraft as one of the reasons (Source: Getty)

The government has said it will continue to work with BAE Systems to "support fully" those affected by the prospective job cuts announced by the firm today.

The aerospace and defence giant said it is planning to cut 1,900 roles in a bid to improve efficiency, taking further action to trim Typhoon and Hawk aircraft production rates.

Business minister Claire Perry responded to an urgent question raised over the matter in the House of Commons, and said BAE had taken the decision "as a result of effectively normal business practice" and internal restructuring.

"This is not related to any UK defence spending decisions," Perry added, saying that the Ministry of Defence had spent nearly £4bn with BAE this year so far.

Read more: BAE Systems confirms proposals to cut nearly 2,000 jobs

She said the government was "disappointed to hear the news" of the near job cuts, and it was "a concerning time for those working for BAE Systems and particularly in the run up to Christmas".

A 30 day statutory consultation process will take place, and no final decision in terms of the level or types of redundancies will be taken until that is completed.

Perry said the government will work with BAE to ensure compulsory redundancies are kept to a minimum, with the defence firm saying the reduction can be managed on a voluntary basis as far as possible.

"The government stands ready to support fully those affected, indeed colleagues across the MoD, my department, and others, are reviewing what support we can offer to the company as it goes through this process," the minister said.

Perry added that a talent retention programme will be used to try and ensure skills are retained within the UK industry "as far as possible".

Meanwhile, shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith MP called the news "truly appalling". She said the government needed to come forward with an urgent plan to save the jobs involved.

"This must include the possibility of bringing forward orders to provide additional work for BAE’s employees, such as replacing the Red Arrows’ fleet of Hawk aircraft that are approaching the end of their service life," Griffith said.

Read more: BAE Systems reports hike in sales and reduced debt for first half of 2017

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