Theresa May backs fight to keep CITB base in Bircham

GV CITB Bircham Norflk.
GV CITB Bircham Norflk.

The fight to stop the closure of the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) West Norfolk base has been boosted by the Prime Minister.

Theresa May said she would help the campaign to save the site on Wednesday.

And her comments delighted North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, who raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions.

He said afterwards: “In my experience it is actually very rare for the Prime Minister to do anything other than offer her sympathies and support.

“For her to say she would actually help me with the campaign is quite exceptional.”

The move came three weeks after the CITB announced it intends to leave its Bircham Newton home for the Peterborough area, putting up to 600 jobs at risk.

Managers have insisted the move is necessary to meet future demands.

But Sir Henry, who has suggested senior board officials should go if they don’t reverse the plan, said it was crucial to enhance skills in the construction sector post-Brexit.

He added: “Now is not the time for the Construction Industry Training Board to be proposing to close its site at Bircham in West Norfolk, putting at risk 600 jobs in a rural area. Will she meet me to discuss this, and will she help me in my campaign?”

Mrs May said Sir Henry was a “great champion” of his constituency and a “great supporter of the CITB at Bircham.”

She added: “I am very happy to support his campaign; I wish him well, and I am happy to meet him.”