Firm shutting shop tells us more efforts are needed

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IT is a sharp reminder that amidst promises of a secure future, workers facing the daily grind remain vulnerable.

Just one day after prime minister David Cameron promised more jobs with two firms moving into Portsmouth’s long-empty shiphall, 30 jobs vanished along the motorway in Fareham.

It would be easy get lost in the excitement of developments at the shiphall and not pay much attention to this new closure.

The job losses are, after all, a tiny fraction of the 940 jobs that went when BAE Systems axed shipbuilding in Portsmouth in November 2013. Mr Cameron cannot be blamed for the latest bad announcement. But each job matters – each one represents a person now struggling.

The news should act as a rallying call to politicians to remain vigilant in the fight to attract industry to the area.

Dytecna’s administrators say there was no viable solution to save the company and it was forced to close.

Philip Watkins, joint administrator at FRP Advisory says: ‘Our immediate focus will be to assist staff who have lost their jobs.’

That sentiment is surely the right one. It has taken more than a year to push for the empty shiphall to be put back into use – and any setback anywhere else could see this good progress unravelling.

But unfortunately the now ex-employees of defence firm Dytecna are not alone.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance across the area has increased.

In Portsmouth alone 2,737 are claiming the benefit, up from 2,661 in December. In Gosport – which is set to benefit from a major helicopter maintenance contract – an extra 33 people are claiming.

The job losses these benefit figures taken together make for sobering reading.

Huge efforts have been made to bring back work to the area – it should not stop now.