Protection of Jobs and Businesses

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:39 pm on 9th September 2020.

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Photo of Chris Elmore Chris Elmore Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Scotland) 2:39 pm, 9th September 2020

I am pleased to speak in today’s debate at such a crucial time for both the nation’s public health and, of course, our economy. As so many Members have said since the pandemic began, the two are very much intertwined, such that our success in keeping the virus at bay will in large part determine whether our economy bounces back or remains on life support.

Covid-19 has put a powder keg under our economy and the global economy, and the recession we are now in was of course inevitable, but it must be said that the true depth of the jobs crisis that our country now finds itself in was not inevitable. The responsibility for putting that right falls squarely at the door of No. 10.

There are 4,700 jobs at risk in my Ogmore constituency, according to Office for National Statistics and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs figures. It is interesting hearing Government Members talk about that as if it does not matter and we will find new jobs. Constituencies such as mine have already had 30 years of deindustrialisation because of 18 years of attacks from a Conservative Government. My constituents cannot cope with any more deindustrialisation or job losses.

I welcome the Government’s support at UK level, and I welcome the Welsh Labour Government’s support for businesses across Wales—theirs is the most generous of any of the UK Administrations’ packages for supporting business—but I echo the calls of my Front-Bench colleagues: the furlough scheme needs to be extended. The suggestion that all sectors will simply survive when something is cut in October is for the birds. That simply is not true.

In the aviation sector in my constituency and that of my hon. Friend Alex Davies-Jones—I pay tribute to her for all the work she has done on supporting so many of the staff—workers face cuts. At the BA site alone, several hundred people face the possibility of job losses. The south Wales economy will take a £1.6 billion hit if BA continues to make cuts to sites across south Wales. The Government cannot just ignore that. It is simply not appropriate for a Government to stand by and do nothing in support of the aviation sector.