Trudy Harrison has today welcomed the Secretary of State for Defence to Cumbria to highlight the role the area plays in the defence of the realm.
Trudy joined the Rt Hon Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson CBE MP at Calderwood House in Egremont to meet staff and residents and learn more about their work in supporting ex-military personnel.
The Secretary of State’s visit also included a meeting at UCLan, based at West Lakes Science and Technology Park where plans to recruit those from the forces with appropriate experience to come and train in the Cumbrian region will be discussed.
The Copeland tour finished with a visit to the Ministry of Defence’s Eskmeals Range, which is managed by QinetiQ as part of the Long Term Partnering Agreement, a 25-year contract between the MOD and QinetiQ to deliver Test & Evaluation (T&E) and Training Support Services to the UK Armed Forces.
The Range, based in Bootle is a key UK capability, specialising in the testing of large calibre ammunition systems (artillery and tank) with the ability to fire over-sea for long ranges.
Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP, said: “I have had a really wonderful day in Copeland with Trudy and I am so pleased that I have had the opportunity to come and visit.
“It has been fantastic to see all that this constituency has to offer and I have very much enjoyed my tour of the area.
“I am so glad I have had the chance to hear about all the work that Trudy has done and continues to do for Copeland - she has worked tirelessly to stand up for local people and local businesses.”
The visit follows the Ministry of Defence's announcement at BAE in Barrow last year to investing £2.5 billion in boosting Britain’s submarine building projects.
Mrs Harrison, said: “Defence is important to Copeland for the obvious reason of keeping us safe, we are also one of the largest recruitment areas for the Armed Forces. The world-beating research and development at Qinetiq is outstanding and the Continuous-At-Sea-Deterrent, built at BAE in Barrow is surely the most effective peacetime deterrent and a vital employer of the highest skilled workers. With the recent addition of BAE’s £25 million Academy, SASK is a critical training place for many of Copeland’s apprentices and graduates.
“Today I was also able to showcase the pioneering work of UCLan, which is tackling the longstanding challenge of recruitment at West Cumberland Hospital. The potential to also up skill and train veterans is both commendable and sensible; after serving our Nation, our veterans deserve our wholehearted support. Welcoming the Armed Forces community to Cumbria, ensuring their settled status whilst plugging our health and social care sector employment challenges is innovation at its best.
“Calderwood House is a fine example of pro-active people meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in our society. Homelessness could affect any one of us, and whilst the overwhelming majority of ex-service people settle into the community, ensuring support for those who need support is vital.”