BAE job losses will turn area into 'ghost town'

Exterior of the factory
Image caption The BAE Brough site is home to more than 750 workers

Businesses in Brough fear that job losses at a BAE aircraft factory could turn the area into a "ghost town".

On Tuesday, it was announced that 400 jobs would be cut at the East Yorkshire site, which makes the Hawk training jet.

The company said the cuts were to "boost competitiveness, accelerate technology innovation and improve operational excellence".

In 2012, hundreds of jobs were lost under a previous restructuring.

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Mark Pawson has worked at the Brough plant as a project accountant for 30 years.

He said workers in the factory were "shell-shocked".

"We'd expected a degree of bad news possibly," he said.

"We all knew about the order book situation, but when the company delivers news like that it's very difficult to take."

Image caption Mark Pawson has worked in the Brough factory for 30 years

Mr Pawson added that the whole town would be affected: "If the manufacturing does cease most people go out on lunchtime for sandwiches and things like that, go out for a curry, you know team events.

"The local economy will definitely be affected no doubt about it, all the small businesses and major business will probably feel an impact."

The town is located on the banks of the Humber Estuary 12 miles (19 km) west of Hull. Aircraft manufacturing began in 1916 with the opening of a factory by aviation pioneer Robert Blackburn.

More than 80 different aircraft were built by the firm, including the Mercury, Buccaneer and the Swordfish, which was used during World War II.

A series of mergers led to the company being acquired by the forerunner of BAE in the 1960s.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Hawk is used as a military trainer by air forces around the world

Neil Daw a union convenor at the plant said that hopes for a reprieve for the workers depended on more orders for the Hawk trainers, from Qatar and a possible replacement for the Red Arrows current Hawks.

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Media captionLabour MPs called on the government to buy new jets to save jobs at the BAE Brough factory

The Ministry of Defence has ruled out any new aircraft for the RAF display team until at least 2030.

Mr Daw criticised the decision saying that the government should be promoting the Hawk around the world by using the latest T5 model rather than the T1 model the Red Arrows currently fly.

"The jets the Red Arrows are flying were built in the 1970s," he said.

"It's like Ford promoting the new Ford Focus by showing off a Ford Anglia."

Image caption The Brough factory makes 40% of the Hawk jet training aircraft

Mr Daw added that without new orders manufacturing at the factory could be gone by the end of 2018.

"If this site closes that's the end of training, of Hawk manufacturing and that will be the end of the training capability for our fighter jets and that will have gone in this country."

Karl Grunnill is the landlord of the Ferry Inn, which stands just around the corner from the factory gate.

He said the last round of job cuts saw takings fall "by a few thousand pounds a week".

"The factory workers during the winter period are basically supporting the pub," he said. "The summer trade is not too bad but in winter certainly the support for local trade and that's not going to be there."

"So winters here are really going to struggle."

Mr Grunnill said he feared Brough could become "a bit of a ghost town".

"I think local shops will close because there won't be that trade there. It's not a big community so I think local trade will definitely suffer."

Image caption Pub landlord Karl Grunnill said he feared local businesses would close

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