AN MP has slammed the decision to axe 162 jobs from one of the area's big employers.

Rolls-Royce has announced that the jobs will be lost due to decline in orders and a lack of new orders.

Fears first circulated about new job losses despite the firm swinging back into profit after reporting a loss the year before.

Just under a thousand people work at the Bankfield and Ghyll Brow sites.

Andrew Stephenson, MP for the area said: “These job losses are deeply disappointing and this will be a worrying time for local employees. I have spoken to Rolls-Royce management about how they will be supporting those directly affected and regularly meet with Trade Union representatives.

"Rolls-Royce workers in Barnoldswick are highly-skilled and have a level of knowledge which is invaluable to the company.

"I therefore feel this is a deeply regrettable and short-sighted decision.”

A company spokesman said: “Rolls-Royce has informed employees and employee representatives at its Barnoldswick facility of proposals to reduce the workforce at the site.

"There has been a drop in workload due to a decline in demand for some of the legacy products made there, in addition there have been limited opportunities to bring in new work. This has resulted in a proposed reduction of 162 roles this year.

"We will offer full support to employees who are impacted by the changes and as part of this process we will look at opportunities for the redeployment of affected employees, voluntary severance and reducing the use of agency workers. We will seek to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible.

"We have invested around £50 million at Barnoldswick in the last year to increase capacity of our wide chord fan blade facility and also to create a Centre of Excellence for Structures at the site. This will help us remain competitive in future.”

The spokesman added that they had started consultations with the trade unions and employee representatives and the expected timeframes will be discussed as part of consultation.