Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Thursday, 20 November 2008

Defence company to axe 200 jobs

Defence giant BAE Systems is cutting 200 jobs in its army vehicles business in the UK.

The job losses will affect factories in Leeds, Newcastle, Leicester and Barrow and Telford in Shropshire.

Managing director David Allott said a voluntary redundancy programme was being set up.

The firm has blamed the cuts on a decline in workload on the Ministry of Defence's Armoured Fighting Vehicle programmes.

Mr Allott said: "We recognise the impact these job losses will have on our employees and the communities in which we operate.

"We always aim to mitigate as much as possible the impact of losses by offering voluntary redundancy where we can, as well as retraining people for alternative roles.

"We have been able to postpone this decision due to high workload on meeting urgent operational requirements, but that activity is now tailing off."

An MoD spokesman said: "BAE Systems continues to support our existing fleet of armoured fighting vehicles and has the capacity to do so, but the terrain of Afghanistan requires different types of vehicle such as Mastiff, Ridgback and Jackal, which are manufactured and integrated by different companies.

"We prioritise getting the right vehicles for current operations with over 1bn spent on a wide range of vehicles taking numbers to 1,200."

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