CALLS have been made to engineering giant Rolls Royce to save skilled jobs at its Barnoldswick factories by using the sites as part of its plans for a fleet of 16 mini nuclear power stations.

The firm has revealed the proposals by the UK SMR consortium which it leads.

The group has pledged to create 6,000 regional UK jobs within the next five years' with up to 80 per cent of the power station components set to be made in factories across the Midlands and North of England.

It has led to immediate calls by local politicians and the Unite union to locate some of the work at Rolls-Royce's two factories in Barnoldswick.

In August the firm announced it was cutting 350 jobs at the town's Bankfield and Ghyll Brow factories and transferring the wide-chord fan blade work to Singapore.

West Craven ward Liberal Democrat and Pendle Council deputy leader Cllr David Whipp said: "This presents a golden opportunity for Rolls-Royce to retain highly skilled jobs in Barnoldswick, where generations of experience are threatened by offshoring of wide-chord fan blade production.

"Developing cutting edge technology like this is bread and butter to the town where the jet engine was developed."

Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said: “We have long called upon Rolls-Royce to diversify its production and services, so this opportunity must not be missed.”

He called on Rolls-Royce to use the opportunity to reverse plans to move work at the Barnoldswick site in Lancashire to Singapore.

He said: “They can both play a huge role in this new chapter for the business.

“They have history, loyalty and above all world-class skills on their side so Rolls-Royce must not turn their back on this workforce and the UK."

Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Council, said: "I would urge Rolls-Royce to bring some of these new jobs to Barnoldswick where they have a skilled and flexible workforce well able to cope with it."

The consortium – which also includes National Nuclear Laboratory and Laing O’Rourke – said it is hoping to get a 'clear commitment' from the Government for the flat-packed power station project.

A Rolls-Royce spokesman said: "It’s important to note that these jobs will come from the separate business that will be set up to make and assemble the power stations."

Tom Samson, chief executive of the consortium, said: “This creates a unique opportunity to revitalise the UK’s industrial base

“The deployment of a fleet these power stations across the UK will contribute massively to the ‘levelling up’ agenda, creating sustainable high value manufacturing jobs in those areas most in need.”

The government handed the Rolls-Royce-led coalition £18 million last year to design the small modular reactors (SMRs).