Today we were hit with the news that the Government is planning to award the UK passports contract to Franco-Dutch owned company Gemalto, over British company De La Rue – whose branch in the Team Valley has produced British passports for many years.
Yesterday I met with Unite members from De La Rue who came to Westminster to tell MPs about the importance of keeping UK passport production here for reasons of national security and the economic impact in the North East.
They are impressive, skilled people who take pride in their work. This decision could put 600 jobs at risk in our region and would affect a supply chain of around 400 businesses.
The Government makes a lot of noise about the Northern Powerhouse, but is failing to recognise the damage of awarding this contract to a French-owned company.
I have not yet received a response from the Home Secretary or the Prime Minister to my letters asking for an urgent meeting. I will be pursuing this today.