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Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson meets Peel Port apprentices and hears more about the company's plans for the terminal

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson with Peel Ports' terminal manager Richard Watson and apprentices Karl Jones and Jon King.

Sefton Central's Bill Esterson met two of the apprentices at Peel Port who the MP says show how we can be optimistic for the future about jobs and the economy.

Mr Esterson chatted to terminal manager, Richard Watson, who lives in Crosby and to apprentices Karl Jones and Jon King as well as discussing the plans that Peel Ports have to help boost the economy of Merseyside.

Peel Ports' new berth for the largest Panamax ships is part of a plan to make the port the second largest in the UK and will significantly increase the capacity at the port. The port expansion will mean opportunities for other businesses and more jobs for local people. At present there are 42 apprentices at the port as well and Peel have made big strides to improve the relationship of the port with residents and the local community.

Bill Esterson said: "I was really pleased to meet Richard, Karl and Jon and to hear how well the apprentices are doing at Peel. 

"The firm wants to be an employer of choice and to make a clean break with the past. The port is a very different place today and the jobs that Karl and Jon are learning are as much about the use of technology as they are about loading and unloading ships. 

"Most of the work is automated so the skills are very different from what previous generations will remember. And the partnership with Hugh Baird College is also excellent news for Sefton as it means that the college is becoming an intrinsic part of the development of the high quality apprenticeships that we need in this part of the world to make sure that the economy has the skills we need and that young people are available for employers looking to recruit.

"I also heard about the work that Peel Ports are doing with schools and with residents and about the whole approach to making sure that staff can make the most of their opportunities at work. The perception about Peel Ports is improving all the time and with good reason."

Bill Esterson also met with Warren Marshall the group planning director and with Howard Sloane, the group HR director.

The government has delayed its plans to invest in electrification of the East-West rail links just weeks after promising the investment as part of the Conservative election campaign. 

Mr Esterson was told by Peel Ports about the need for investment in rail electrification and the importance of improvements in infrastructure. 

Bill Esterson said: "Many businesses have said to me that they want the government to invest in improving our rail and road networks. So it was baffling for many of them to learn that the government had cancelled the electrification of the railways across the Pennines. 

"Peel Ports rely on rail and wants to increase its use of rail including for the import of biomass material which is transported from Seaforth to Beverley in East Yorkshire for processing, so it made no sense for the Conservatives to promise new rail electrification before the election and then immediately cancel it straight afterwards. 

"People are cynical about politicians and broken promises, not least after Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems broke so many promises in the last parliament but for the Conservatives to make and then break a promise to quickly really took the biscuit.

"I will be lobbying for the rail electrification to be reinstated and I will also be doing what I can to help Peel continue to develop the high quality jobs and to help the wider economy. 

"People have reservations about Peel and about the attempt by Peel Holdings to build a distribution depot at Switch Island. 

"I believe that there are better locations for the distribution centre and Peel understand my views and those of many people in Sefton Central but it is also really important that we encourage and support Peel in continuing to invest in the port, in apprenticeships, in good quality jobs and in the wider economy. 

"I should like to thank my hosts at Peel for my visit and pledge my support for the great work that they continue to do for Merseyside, for the economy and in offering jobs to so many of my constituents, including those I met during my visit."

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