Lib Dem mayoral candidate Aidan King on Aycliffe Hitachi crisis

It’s hugely important to our region that we keep train manufacturing in the North East. The railways were born here, and Hitachi have been continuing Stephenson’s legacy by building the country’s latest great trains here.

You can ride on North East built Hitachi trains from Penzance to Inverness and they have taken millions of people across our beautiful country. Our region is proud of its past manufacturing heritage and its current manufacturing strength in Hitachi.

Last month I was pleased to be able to visit the Hitachi plant in Newton Aycliffe and see the work they’re doing there. While in Newton Aycliffe, I met the fantastic staff and heard about the pride they take in their work and the role they play in keeping our country moving.The Northern Echo: Liberal Democrat candidate Aidan King at Hitachi

I also met with Jim Brewin, Chief Director at Hitachi Rail, who spoke to me about the great value Hitachi adds to our regional economy in the North East through both direct jobs and its supply chain.

Later this month I will be taking Vince Cable, the previous Business Secretary, to the Plant for a visit. Vince was present when this world-class manufacturing facility and its over 800 well paid jobs opened in our region and knows how crucial it is to our region’s economy.

There is more to Hitachi than just train manufacturing though. They provide a key role in training and apprenticeships for young people in our region.

It’s clear that our region will be poorer without Hitachi.

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This situation is easily avoidable though, we just need Central Government to take their head out the sand, listen to business and listen to local leaders and greenlight the factory saving order we know is there.

If elected as the North East’s first Mayor this May, one of my first calls would be to Mark Harper, the Transport secretary, to tell him it’s time to put pen to paper and save our factory.

Let’s be clear, there is an order waiting thar could save this factory, but it’s a political choice made by an out of touch Conservative Government in disarray to not save Hitachi. I will always do whatever I can to support jobs and manufacturing in the North East.”

The Northern Echo | Business News