Open letter to Amanda Solloway, MP for Derby North: Please Stand Up For Rolls-Royce and Derby In The Covid Crisis

May 22, 2020 8:49 AM

Derby North MP Candidate Greg WebbDear Amanda,

I'm sure that, like me, you were shocked to hear the news that Derby's Rolls-Royce would be cutting 9,000 jobs, half expected to fall in Derby. This is a terrible blow to Derby, and risks several thousand more job losses in suppliers.

We're all proud of Rolls-Royce's 112 years of history in Derby. Combined with Bombardier and Toyota, generations of Derby people have had great, skilled high technology jobs. But you'll also know how badly Derby was hit in 1971 when Rolls-Royce had to be rescued from collapse by the government. We can't afford to see Derby's engineering excellence left at risk.

Last December, we both stood for election in Derby North, asking people to back us to look after their interests in Parliament. Since you were elected, you've been fortunate enough to appointed as a government business minister. You've now got a real opportunity to help Derby retain its place as a hub of skilled high technology manufacturing and engineering.

Businesses, especially complex international organisations like Rolls-Royce and Toyota, need certainty to let them plan or they can't create the great jobs we both want for Derby. And the government isn't providing that certainty at the moment.

Experts are already saying that the government's handling of Covid-19 has made it hit Britain harder. By locking down too late, the crisis will take longer to fix and cost more people their jobs or their lives. Rolls-Royce and other businesses could be back to normal sooner and suffering less harm if the government had acted faster and better followed World Health Organisation guidance.

And, on top of this, the government seems intent on pursuing Brexit at the end of the year at any cost - even if that means leaving with no trade deal with our biggest partner. For a government to deliberately add this damage on top of the challenge of Covid-19 is irresponsible and will cost people in and around Derby their jobs.

Please, use your position as a business minister to help Derby and help Rolls-Royce. Help businesses to get the support they need to come out of the Covid-19 crisis stronger, not weaker. Help them to invest in great, green jobs building a sustainable future and a better planet. And help lift the threat of a no-deal Brexit that will cut them off from suppliers and customers.

Thank you,

Greg Webb

Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Derby North in December 2019