“We’ll give this everything we’ve got” – MDA vows to fight back after job losses in aerospace industry.
Councillor Mark Pritchard, Chair of the Mersey Dee Alliance (MDA) and Leader of Wrexham Council said: “All the Leaders of the Mersey Dee Alliance councils are devastated by the announcement that Airbus will be shedding 1,700 jobs in the UK. This will hit the Mersey Dee cross-border economy hard. There are 6,000 jobs at Broughton and the supply chain provides 12,000 jobs. We could easily be looking at 4,000 – 5,000 jobs being at risk across Airbus and its supply chain without urgent action to save jobs.
“Our thoughts are with the anxious families of the employees of Airbus and its supply chain companies across North East Wales, West Cheshire and the Wirral; the Mersey Dee cross border economy, where they live and work.
“I and my fellow Leaders in the MDA will stand shoulder to shoulder with the workers of Airbus and its supply chain companies, alongside Ken Skates MS, the Welsh Government Economy Minister.
“Ken is a member of the Mersey Dee Alliance. He knows us and the support we need to help our communities over this devastating blow.
“I welcome Ken’s call for an emergency cross border summit that will focus on how the MDA, the Welsh Government and the UK Government can help the advanced manufacturing, aerospace and automotive sectors survive the post Covid-19 economic crisis. The MDA will support it and participate in it fully.
“The MDA will play a full part in the establishment of a cross border regional response team. I call on the two governments to support the MDA to play a major role in that team and to formulate an emergency investment package to save jobs in the short term and drive growth in the long term.
“The MDA will engage, as it always has, with business, universities and colleges and the AMRC to develop proposals to secure the future of high value manufacturing, aerospace and automotive sectors in the MDA economy. I also see a role for financial and professional services in securing future prosperity in the MDA.”
Councillor Louise Gittins, Chair of Growth Track 360 and Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “The Mersey Dee area faces a crisis that threatens the jobs and well-being of thousands of families. We have to respond creatively and break down the barriers our economy faces from an administrative border that runs through the middle of it.
“The UK and Welsh Governments need to work together to respond to this crisis.
“My work as Chair of Growth Track 360 has demonstrated the economic interdependence of North Wales, Cheshire and the Wirral (in the Liverpool City Region) which needs to be supported by joined-up infrastructure; rail, road and digital.
“The MDA has a well-developed investment plan for upgrading infrastructure. Funding it will help us save jobs now and grow in the future.
“There have been a lot of warm words from the UK Government about investing in the Mersey Dee area. In the face of this crisis it is now time to deliver.
“If Government is ready to invest, the MDA is ready to deliver.”
In conclusion, Councillor Pritchard said: “This is about people’s lives and livelihoods. That’s the bottom line.
“So we have to do everything we can to work together to support the Minister Ken Skates and the Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, to help protect the cross-border economy.
“So many jobs and businesses will depend on the investment and support we can secure for the region, so we have to give this everything we’ve got. And we will.”
Minister for Economy and North Wales Ken Skates said: “I welcome the MDA’s readiness to work with us as we deal with this devastating news. It is clear that we need to take immediate action to safeguard the position and wellbeing of the Airbus workforce and supply chain.
“Building upon the extremely close working relationship the Welsh Government enjoys with partners in North Wales and across the wider Mersey Dee area, this action will be founded firmly on collaboration.
“In the immediate term I have asked my senior officials to convene, as a matter of urgency, a multi -agency north Wales/Mersey Dee area rapid response group and effort.
“This group will work with Airbus, the supply chain, trade unions, and all key agencies to ensure the rapid and effective deployment of all support required to individuals and the supply chain.”
The Mersey Dee Alliance (MDA) is a cross-border strategic economic partnership, established in 2007, covering North-East Wales (Flintshire and Wrexham), West Cheshire and Wirral. It is unique in the UK as a partnership representing a functioning cross-border economic region. The MDA is funded by subscriptions and governed by a Board nominated by its members.
Members of the partnership are Cheshire West and Chester Council, Flintshire County Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (with the lead representative being Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council), Wrexham County Borough Council, University of Chester, Wrexham Glyndwr University and Welsh Government.
Key partners are the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (C&W LEP), the North Wales Economic Ambition Board (NWEAB) and the North Wales and Mersey Dee Business Council.
The principal aim of the partnership is to realise the full sustainable economic growth potential of the Mersey Dee area.