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Global Supply Chains

Volume 675: debated on Wednesday 29 April 2020

Keeping supply chains open is essential for British consumers to access what they need. It will also help British business to bounce back quickly. We must protect the lives and livelihoods of people in developing countries who work in those supply chains, so we are working across Government within the G20, the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank on development-focused trade support, including flows of medical supplies. We are also working with British business to support vulnerable communities overseas that provide goods to the UK.

Domestic and international supply lines will clearly be crucial to the economic recovery of both ourselves and the world as we bounce back from coronavirus. Is the Minister working with colleagues from the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to also support logistics firms such as those in my constituency and the vital role that they perform in keeping our country running and open for international business?

I thank the logistics firms across the country, particularly those in Runnymede and Weybridge, for the work that they do. This ministerial team will continue to work with the Department for International Trade to keep supply chains open so that firms can restart exporting as soon as the operating context allows. We will also work with the Department for Transport and BEIS to understand the impacts on UK logistics firms and the critical role that they play in facilitating trade.

The pandemic is affecting supply chains across the world at the moment, including those that provide vital goods to the UK and businesses in Gloucestershire. What is my hon. Friend doing to make sure that the work in the affected industries in developing countries is supported during the crisis?

We are engaging with businesses in the UK and in developing countries to understand the challenges that they face to protect incomes and livelihoods. For example, in Bangladesh, through the better jobs in Bangladesh programme, DFID will be supporting 1,000 factories and their workers to return to work safely when they are able to do so. We are also urgently examining what funding is needed and how we can have the biggest impact working in partnership with businesses and addressing these issues in the most vulnerable countries.