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Manufacturing Sector: Covid-19

Volume 677: debated on Tuesday 16 June 2020

We are committed to ongoing engagement with industry to ensure that our manufacturers have the support that they need. That includes a roundtable that I am holding tomorrow for north-east businesses, which the hon. Gentleman will be interested in. Our support for the industry includes the unprecedented £330 billion package of business continuity support.

I send my condolences to the family of my dear friend and colleague Jo Cox.

UK workers are much more vulnerable to redundancy than French and German workers because the UK Government have announced that they are already winding down their job retention scheme. That is not my view, but the view expressed this weekend by the chief executive of leading aerospace manufacturer Airbus. In France and Germany, the subsidy schemes are set to last for up to two years. Does the Minister not agree that UK workers deserve at least the same job protections and guarantees as have been introduced in other countries? What more can be done to save these vital UK jobs?

The hon. Member mentions the aerospace sector, into which the Government have put around £6.5 billion between the Bank of England corporate finance scheme and UK Export Finance, with an additional half a billion pounds of support. We have also put £3.4 billion into the growth deal across the northern powerhouse, with almost £380 million of that going to the north-east local enterprise partnership area, including his constituency of Wansbeck, which is benefiting from that to the tune of around £2.25 million in a science, technology, engineering and maths building at Northumberland College’s Ashington campus. A lot of work is going into this unprecedented package, but we continue to review all our interventions to make sure that UK workers get the benefit of a dynamic recovery.