union for life

Copeland

Copeland

Major employers

Sellafield, National Nuclear Laboratory

Questions

  1. What will you do to increase investment and skill levels in the strategic industries, infrastructure and public services on which the UK’s security and prosperity depend?
  2. Will you ensure that the UK does not leave Euratom without putting in place equivalent arrangements, including mobility for nuclear specialist staff?
  3. Will you campaign for a nuclear deal that provides a secure future pathway for new build, decommissioning, nuclear R&D and regulation?
  4. Will you commission a review of the work and purpose of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority with the aim of growing the UK’s share of the worldwide £580bn decommissioning market?

Candidates’ responses

Trudy Harrison (Conservative)

My father, brother and husband and indeed many members of my family work in the nuclear industry and I started my own career at Sellafield, so this is an issue I know and care about.

Our nuclear and industrial heritage here in Copeland is exceptional, I’m incredibly proud of our workforce. Securing nuclear new build at Moorside will be my priority, if the strategic review being carried by NuGen requires Government investment that is exactly what I will demand. I will also champion our industrial potential, making sure that our legacy of world class skills is continued with a huge increase in technical apprenticeships, I believe this is vital for our practical, skilled community.

I have met with nuclear leaders, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the Nuclear Industrial Association and attended meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Nuclear to discus the industry's potential and issues around the membership of Euratom.

As we leave the EU we will leave Euratom, as it is funded by the central European Union pot. I am assured, however, that the UK will continue to support this organisation and will seek continuity of co-operation and standards. This includes the continued maintenance of the UK's mutually successful civil nuclear co-operation with the European Union.

As Euratom passes to its constituent countries the regulations, rules and supervision that it inherits from the International Atomic Energy Agency, of which the UK is still a member. If, for whatever reason, it is not possible to come to a conclusion involving some sort of relationship with Euratom, the UK will be able to reach one with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

If re-elected I will champion and celebrate the skills we have in and around Sellafield at the highest levels in Parliament. I would attend and expand businesses forums as we leave the EU to allow a transparent flow of information between experts, businesses, forums, Ministers and Government agencies.

I have already brought Rt Hon Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade to our area to meet with local businesses, to understand our un-tapped potential. I am confident that Government departments are now very aware of our local capabilities for nuclear energy, decommissioning and the wider supply chain.

Gillian Troughton (Labour)

 What will you do to increase investment and skill levels in the strategic industries, infrastructure and public services on which the UK’s security and prosperity depend?

Labour will invest £250bn over 10 years in upgrading our economy and infrastructure. We can only build a 21st century economy in Cumbria on 21st century infrastructure. Our economy needs high quality roads and railways, and decent internet access. We also need to invest heavily in skills training and high-quality apprenticeships. As part of Labour's dynamic industrial strategy, we will provide free lifelong further education and training to deliver boosted productivity and growth to our economy while transforming lives and communities. Labour has a fully costed plan to invest billions into our public services, reversing years of decline, including £5bn a year for the NHS and over £6bn a year for schools. 

Will you ensure that the UK does not leave Euratom without putting in place equivalent arrangements, including mobility for nuclear specialist staff?

Labour supports the UK remaining within Euratom - it's hugely important for our local nuclear industry. I am concerned that research and development and nuclear jobs will be put at risk by leaving Euratom.

 Will you campaign for a nuclear deal that provides a secure future pathway for new build, decommissioning, nuclear R&D and regulation?

My husband works in the nuclear supply chain so I know how important it is that the local nuclear industry goes from strength to strength - nuclear must play a key role in our low-carbon electricity generation future. A Labour government would underwrite the cost of new-build at Moorside as well as continuing to invest in ongoing decommissioning at Sellafield.

I will join the all party group on nuclear. I will lobby to protect jobs and pensions. I will also speak up for diversification in the supply chain and new decommissioning jobs at Sellafield (making use of new technologies enabling better waste characterisation).

What would you do to support the UK nuclear industry gaining a greater share of the estimated £150bn global decommissioning market?

The Labour manifesto explicitly mentions global decommissioning opportunities for the British nuclear industry and the wider supply chain. In West Cumbria, we should be incredibly ambitious and aim to be the nuclear world leader, putting us firmly on the map as the place to do business in the nuclear industry.

Rebecca Hanson (Lib Dem)

What will you do to increase investment and skill levels in the strategic industries, infrastructure and public services on which the UK’s security and prosperity depend?

The Liberal Democrats will boost the economy with a major programme of capital investment that will stimulate growth across the UK. We will make serious investments to ensure that UK industry is flexible, adaptable and competitive. This new spending will prioritise a programme of installing hyper-fast, fibre optic broadband across the UK; investment in the modernisation of schools and hospitals, significant investment in road and rail infrastructure and a British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank.

The Tories are now collapsing education funding by imposing cuts which are equivalent to the salaries of over 700 teachers just in Cumbria. The Liberal Democrats will reverse these cuts and ensure that per/pupil spending on education is protected. We will protect our excellent comprehensive schools from new, predatory grammar schools and, most importantly in the Whitehaven area, we will implement a policy (which I helped to develop and Lib Dems fought for but were prevented from implementing by the Tories during the coalition government), that will give Ofsted the right to inspect academy chains.

Only the Liberal Democrats are committed to raising income tax by a penny in the pound in order to provide £6bn/year which will be ring-fenced for social care, the NHS and public health. We have detailed policies on improving recruitment and retention in the NHS, improving mental health care, sugar reduction in food and drinks, tackling recruitment issues and improving air quality that I am proud to support.

On a personal level, in West Cumbria I have helped to change the opinions of key people about the downgrading of services at Whitehaven Hospital by writing risk assessments, publicising them, meeting with key individuals and by challenging the regulator. My strong record of professional and political achievement at local and national level mean that I’m well prepared to be an effective and dedicated MP for Copeland.

Will you ensure that the UK does not leave Euratom without putting in place equivalent arrangements, including mobility for nuclear specialist staff?

The House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee heard evidence from nuclear experts who all expressed very serious concerns about our ability to negotiate an alternative to the Euratom agreement within two years. They explained why it is likely this will take a decade. The Tory government is determined to leave the Euratom agreement because it defers to the European Court of Justice but it has proposed no alternative as to how an agreement with European partners could be arbitrated. In a recent newspaper report our Conservative MP for Copeland tried to reassure voters that it would all be fine if we set up a UK Nuclear Regulator. She appeared to be unaware that we have a Nuclear Regulator (the ONR), especially given that the Nuclear Regulator provided evidence to the select committee.

Whilst I would fully support this government in its work to secure an alternative agreement to Euratom, I would also actively remind it that Brexiteers never raised concerns regarding the behaviour of the European Court of Justice (as it has always been beneficial to the UK and Brexiteers only cared about getting rid of the European Court of Human Rights). Given that the evidence to MPs was that there is no need to leave the Euratom agreement as part of Brexit and that any alternative agreement would need the European Court of Justice or something equivalent to it as arbitrator, I would also remind the government at opportune moments (such as when they realise an alternative agreement can’t be created in time) that we not need to leave the Euratom agreement.

Liberal Democrats will also offer the public the opportunity to reject our Brexit deal if, on balance, they decide it is not good for the UK.

Will you campaign for a nuclear deal that provides a secure future pathway for new build, decommissioning, nuclear R&D and regulation?

I fully support the nuclear industry and am committed to continuing to campaign on these issues. Nuclear energy is essential to West Cumbria. It is a fundamental component of our energy mix and it is key to delivering the carbon targets set in the international climate change agreements developed by my colleague Sir Ed Davey - the Lib Dem minister who signed off Hinkley Point C and made the nuclear regulator independent.

As an active local Lib Dem and fellow of the Royal Society of Arts specialising on consultation processes, I’ve been involved in consulting on nuclear issues for many years (e.g. google Rebecca Hanson, Libdem Voice, Radioactive Waste). My husband is one of the UK’s most experienced nuclear engineers. He has worked with the IAEA and chaired OECD committees on nuclear issues. I therefore have a network of nuclear experts who help me understand and scrutinise official advice and the challenges faced by the industry. It is essential we make wise decisions and to do that we need to have an MP who is capable of explaining issues and changing minds when we’re on the wrong track.

What would you do to support the UK nuclear industry gaining a greater share of the estimated £150bn global decommissioning market?

As MP I would also be in a position to support the many groups in West Cumbria who are working to globalise our nuclear decommissioning industry and it would be my privilege and honour to do that. I would be delighted to be able to use my understanding of the nuclear industry and my passion for it to promote our many unique and innovative decommissioning technologies and businesses on national and international stages.