Ynys Môn MP, Virginia Crosbie, yesterday held a debate in the House of Commons addressing recent news reports about the security of jobs at RAF Valley.
In response to her constituents’ concerns, Ms Crosbie arranged for the debate in which she addressed the Minister for Defence Procurement, the Rt Hon Jeremy Quin MP, and raised the significance of RAF Valley to the island.
In the half-hour debate entitled “That this House has considered the future of funding and employment in RAF Valley” Ms Crosbie said that the base is the second largest employer in the county.
Quoting a number of service and civilian personnel, many of whom she met on her recent visit to the base, Ms Crosbie underlined the fact that the team-led approach at RAF Valley has been pivotal in the lives of many local young people who might otherwise have faced joblessness or been forced to leave the community.
Speaking of the civilian workforce she said:
“This team wants to stay on the island and pass their skills on to new generations of young people. Young people who desperately need the kind of training and support that RAF Valley can give them.”
During Ms Crosbie’s speech, she also included quotes from the Station Commander of RAF Valley Gt Capt Chris Moon:
“Whilst the RAF might seem to be high tech equipment focused from the outside, it is our people…that really give us our edge. Some of our people have worked here for over 40 years, and if you cut them open it would say RAF Valley on the inside!”
One of these people is Laurence Peers who was born in Holyhead and has worked at RAF Valley since 2002. In Ms Crosbie’s speech she read a quote from him:
“Please do all you can to keep giving the young people of this island the best chances in life if they wish to stay and live and make a reasonable living where they were brought up.”
Ms Crosbie asked the Minister to acknowledge the importance of RAF Valley and reassure her that the UK Government would continue to invest in the base and its workforce.
In his response, the Minister said:
“I want to start by congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie). I knew her before she arrived at this place. Ithought she would be a brilliant advocate for her constituents, and she has proved to be so, in the way that she has been tackling me directly about this vital base and vital employer in her constituency, and in securing the debate. She will be a redoubtable representative for Ynys Môn…
The RAF is currently undergoing a review of how best to deliver all aspects of servicing and maintenance for the Hawk T1s through to their OSDs (out-of-service dates). My officials are in discussions withBAE Systems and we are determining potential options for a Hawk 2020 support contract. I emphasise that, at this stage, no decisions have been taken. Any future decision will be based on a range of factors.”