CAMPAIGNERS have lodged a Parliamentary Petition calling for legislation to prevent companies like Rolls-Royce exporting the ‘Crown Jewels’ of the British economy.

The move follows last week’s announcement by the aerospace giant that they are considering moving production of wide-chord fan blades from its site in Barnoldswick to Singapore.

The switch could cost 350 jobs at the Bankfield and Ghyll Brow factories which at the beginning of the year employed 740 staff.

The cutback,on top of 220 redundancies announced in June, could leave the site with just 170 workers.

The firm, which posted a £5.4billion loss for the first six months of 2020, has stressed it is currently consulting with trade unions and employee representatives on the proposed change and will do everything it can to avoid compulsory redundancies

Craven ward Liberal Democrat and deputy leader of Pendle Council Cllr David Whipp said:”These are the crown jewels of our economy and the bedrock of modern manufacturing in Britain. To send them off to Singapore is more than a betrayal, it’s treasonous.

“We have lodged a Parliamentary Petition calling on MPs to enact legislation to outlaw this export of our economic Crown Jewels. If the Government won’t act, we hope that the representatives of the people will.”

The petition asks parliament “to legislate to prevent global companies from removing critical industrial processes to offshore locations with the consequent loss of skills and manufacturing capabilities. This should apply especially with examples like that of Rolls-Royce and wide-chord fan blade production at Barnoldswick.

“The loss of skills built up over generations will see Britain becoming incapable of producing advanced technical products critical to the economic life-blood and defence of the nation.”

Nelson East’s Lancashire County Council Labour group leader Cllr Azhar Ali said:” This Conservative government has once again betrayed skilled workers in Barnoldswick and associated supply chains and not done a jot whilst we haemorrhage skills to Singapore.

“We need jam today to protect hundreds of jobs in Pendle and East Lancashire not promises of jam sometime in the future.”

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “Rolls have reneged on their promises to workers in Barnoldswick, who have been concerned about the risk of jobs going to Singapore ever since a facility was opened there.

“Ever since this devastating news was announced, I have been speaking to Rolls to get them to think again and to government ministers to discuss what more they can do. I am keen to explore all possible avenues to protect local jobs.”