It was worrying to read in your columns last week that staff from Rolls Royce in Barnoldswick were in fear for their jobs to such an extent that many of them had been driven to go out on strike.

When I first heard that the factory was losing jobs I assumed that this was entirely down to the drop in the number of people flying and a consequent reduction in orders for plane engines. Instead it turns out that the pandemic has been cynically chosen as the ideal moment to quietly move jobs to a factory in Singapore.

The high quality engineering skills of the dedicated people who work at this factory need protecting. It is true that we need to fly a lot less than we used to in a world of zoom conferences and alarming CO2 levels but surely the need to switch to greener technologies should be generating opportunities for skilled engineers not destroying them.

If the government is serious about levelling up the north where are the measures to retrain these incredibly valuable people? Where is the investment in alternative sources of engineering employment? When are we going to hear the announcement about a large scale rescue and transformation package?

It cannot be right for the British government to sit back and simply decide that jobs up north have to be allowed to go in the foolish belief that there is no alternative. If the British government allows this pool of highly skilled people to fall apart and for UK manufacturing to decline a little further we will all regret it.

We need a serious investment and training programme to create a future for this factory and we need it quickly.

Cllr Andy Brown

Green Party

Main Street