THE Prime Minister has responded to a letter encouraging further development of the aerospace and manufacturing sector in Lancashire.

Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) wrote to the government following the announcement of almost 2,000 job losses at BAE Systems in Samlesbury.

County council leader Geoff Driver and LEP chairman Edwin Booth highlighted the strength of the advanced manufacturing sector in the county and asked for support to continue its future.

In a personal letter of reply, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, said it 'would be worth exploring your ideas' to strengthen manufacturing in the county.

County Cllr Geoff Driver said: “It’s important that we make Lancashire’s voice heard, and look at how we can continue to support, develop and encourage this important sector for the Lancashire economy.

“The expertise of the people in Lancashire who work in this sector is amongst the very best in the world, and we will do what we can to ensure it remains this way.

“It’s vital that we continue to enable this dynamic sector to grow and take up new business opportunities, through investments in new innovation facilities and skills development.

“We’re always talking to the government about key issues that affect the county, and how we can work together to benefit Lancashire.

“We will do what we can to ensure that the county remains at the forefront of the advanced manufacturing sector.

“We’ve already heard back from the Government.

“We’re pleased that they’ve recognised and understood our position, and they are now considering the matters we’ve raised with them.”

BAE Systems announced the jobs would come in its military, maritime and intelligence services.

The defence giant said the aim is to streamline its business and have a ‘sharper’ competitive edge, with redundancies spread over at least two years.

Mrs May, said: “The defence sector is working on a proposal, as part of the joint government-industry Defence Growth Partnership.

“Given the importance of defence aerospace to Lancashire, I believe it would be worth exploring your ideas with the Defence Growth Partnership to strengthen the advance manufacturing hub in Lancashire as part of their proposal.”

Edwin Booth, chairman of the LEP, said: "In the coming weeks, we will work with colleagues in BAE Systems and government to respond to this specific challenge.”