MPs WIN FIGHT TO KEEP LONGTOWN OPEN
Conservative MPs David Mundell, MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale, John Stevenson MP for Carlisle and Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border have won their long campaign to keep Longtown open which has for nearly 6 years faced the threat of closure from a process started under the last Government.
The Government will be making a £1 million investment to keep a reduced site open, saving close to 200 jobs. At the same time many more options are being explored for commercial investments with seven companies showing an interest.
The MPs have invited the Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, to the site in November to meet with Trade Union representatives and local stakeholders to discuss these plans.
This brings an end to a three year campaign to save the site and local jobs and finally concludes Project Hadrian.
Rory Stewart MP said: “I am delighted that we have finally had a clear and successful conclusion to the long campain for the rentention of the site at Longtown. The saving of nearly 200 jobs at the site is welcome news which will put an end to years on worry and uncertainty. Longtown fulfils an invaluable role, not only to our defence systems nationally, but to the local economy, employing a significant proportion of residents in the Longtown, Carlisle and Gretna areas. Our arguments of the importance of the site logistically, in terms of its capabilities, the expertise deployed by a staff and its important infrastructure links, have finally been heard by the Minister. I am very pleased that we have finally had an answer on the future of Longtown, and that it has been a positive one.’
John Stevenson MP said: “It has been a long campaign but I am very pleased that the Government has recognised the importance of the Longtown site. Full credit must be given to my fellow MPs and the trade unions who, with me, have been working hard to ensure the future of the site.. The Ministers announcement is very welcome.”
David Mundell MP said: “This investment and commitment to an MoD future at Longtown represents the best possible outcome from what has been a long and difficult campaign to protect the site. After recent speculation that the site might close this news is a tremendous turnaround and is testament to the skills, expertise and track record of the workforce at Longtown, which played a key role in the decision making process. This process has shown the real difference it makes when local MPs and other representatives work together and everyone who has been involved in this campaign can take great pride in the outcome. In this region these sorts of highly skilled jobs are extremely valuable and retaining them is a big boost for the local economy and the wider community.”
Defence Minister Philip Dunne MP congratulated MPs Rory Stewart, John Stevenson and David Mundell who have long campaigned to save munitions work at Longtown. Mr Dunne said: “I pay tribute to all those who have campaigned hard to maintain Munitions handling at DM Longtown over several years. I have listened to representations, in particular from local MPs, but also the Trade Unions and local authority, and am pleased we have found a solution which will see the MoD invest over £1million to maintain munitions handling at Longtown, safeguarding over 180 jobs, and at the same time allowing commercial activities to be developed in parallel, with due safety and security, on part of the site.”