Alex Cunningham was delighted to be part of a recent high profile visit of parliamentarians to BASF in Ludwigshafen as part of a fact-finding mission organised by the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT).
The German facility is one of the biggest industrial sites in Europe, stretching over 10km² and employing almost 38,000 people. The Labour MP was pleased to join the cross-party visit, which provided a unique opportunity to learn more about some of the most pressing issues and concerns BASF face in operating in Germany and across Europe.
The delegation witnessed a wide range of BASF’s operations in action during the two day visit, including a full site visit and a tour of the new research and laboratory facilities. The group of parliamentarians also had the opportunity to meet with senior staff representatives, discussing policy issues relevant in both the UK and Germany such as energy, innovation and apprenticeships. The German perspective on the UK’s vote to leave the EU, and how the UK might move forward, was also addressed.
The Stockton North MP also engaged in offline discussions with senior BASF managers about the current situation on Teesside – where the company still owns infrastructure – and hopes to be able to encourage fresh thinking locally, inspired by lessons learned from the Ludwigshafen visit.
Commenting on the visit, Alex said:
“I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit one of the largest industrial complexes in Europe and see first-hand how their operations are orchestrated and coordinated. With the chemicals industry on Teesside not matching the levels of integration seen in Germany, I was glad of the chance to engage with senior BASF managers to consider how improvements might be made. I have extended a reciprocal invitation to visit Stockton and offered to set up discussions on how greater investment could be facilitated to spur growth, and hope this will be taken up.”
Richard John Carter, Managing Director of BASF UK and Ireland, added: “Germany has been, and is a success story for European manufacturing. As the UK is now looking to develop a new relationship with Europe and its industry, this was a good opportunity to learn from our colleagues in Germany and for both sides to hear different perspectives. A good example is the successful German apprenticeship system versus the UK’s flawed levy concept. We are a keen supporter of the IPT and look forward to repeating the visit and strengthening ties at a time when close collaboration is needed to shape the future UK-German relationship.”
Nick Maher, Chief Executive, Industry and Parliament Trust: “Visits such as this provide a unique experience for parliamentarians to learn first-hand from industry, helping them to better understand the needs of business. We are grateful to BASF for hosting the group and hope that their experience will impact positively upon Members’ work in Parliament.”