Protection of Jobs and Businesses

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:57 pm on 9th September 2020.

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Photo of Mark Eastwood Mark Eastwood Conservative, Dewsbury 2:57 pm, 9th September 2020

I thank my hon. Friend for that point. As it happens, I am coming on to my background in furniture. My background is in furniture manufacturing. Furniture and bedding have been at the forefront of Dewsbury’s manufacturing resurgence, employing hundreds of people across the constituency. Around 60% of the UK population sleep on something made in Dewsbury. [Laughter.] Interesting fact.

The British Furniture Confederation is soon to launch its “Buy British” campaign, urging consumers to buy the best, buy British and save jobs. This is an excellent campaign, which places a focus on the value of British manufacturing and highlights the importance of retaining these high-quality jobs. Every £1 million spent by consumers buying British furniture could secure an additional 50 manufacturing jobs and many more in retail. I therefore urge manufacturers and retailers, not just in furniture but in all industries, to consider taking up this campaign to get the public into shops, buying British goods and supporting jobs.

Furthermore, with the announcement of major capital projects, the Government could look at widening the scope of public sector contracts to assist British businesses through this period, whether through the supply of furniture, the provision of services or even stationery. That would assist companies such as Shackletons in my constituency, which employs more than 80 people and supplies high-quality furniture to the struggling care home sector. Its products could easily be supplied to the NHS and other social care facilities if the Government were to consider relaxing procurement frameworks. In addition, we could reduce barriers to innovation and look at reducing burdens on employers to encourage job retention. I look forward to seeing bold ideas from the Government to boost businesses, encourage employment and incentivise innovation.

Finally, the message that I would like to put out to the people of this country, and in my constituency is: buy the best, buy British and save jobs.