Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, visited North Devon last Friday to speak with reps from the GMB and Unite trade unions. Rachel heard about the recent purchase of Appledore shipyard by Infrastrata, the future plans for the yard and the importance of keeping these shipbuilding jobs in Appledore.
She also heard about the employment situation in North Devon, the importance of having better transport links, investing in skills and how companies have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Speaking to the North Devon Gazette, Rachel said:
“Right now we’re facing a torrid time for jobs particularly in Devon and the South West with coronavirus. It’s a reminder that we need to build our economy on top of strong foundations.
“Traditionally there have been high-skilled, high-paid, secure jobs at the shipyard and in other manufacturing jobs, but many have been lost in the region, and a Labour government is determined to rebuild that sector.
“We’ve seen during this crisis that our failure to invest in manufacturing and textiles meant that the sixth-richest country in the world wasn’t able to produce the PPE that those on the frontline needed.
“Similarly we need to ensure we have a capability and capacity to build ships in this country, and that means investing in skills and investing in manufacturing sector including here in Appledore.”
Later on Friday Rachel spoke at the Appledore Drive-In Book Festival about her 2019 book “Women of Westminster: The MPs who changed politics.”