We recognise that some areas and some sectors of the economy have been more affected than others by the pandemic. The DWP, along with other Government Departments, will continue to work in partnership with mayors, local government, businesses and charities, acknowledging their expertise and links with their local labour markets. This includes working closely and at pace with regional partners during the development phase of the Government’s plan for jobs, which builds on and boosts the existing support offered by our Jobcentre Plus network.
The Government oversaw record employment at the beginning of this year, but, even in that buoyant labour market, there were areas of high unemployment, including in Wolverhampton North East. How will my hon. Friend make sure that those people struggling to find work before the pandemic are not forgotten over the difficult months ahead?
Our jobcentres have remained open throughout the pandemic, making more than 250,000 calls a week to claimants to help them look for work, and supporting those vulnerable claimants face to face. This Department meanwhile is doubling the number of work coaches in our jobcentres with the first wave of adverts going live last week. I can confirm that recruitment in my hon. Friend’s constituency is going live next week. Work coaches are indeed at the core of our employment offer, and this new increase will provide all claimants with the tailored local support that they need.
Manchester Airport employs more than 25,000 people on site and supports a further 45,000 jobs across the north-west, including in Cheadle. Owing to the pandemic, many of those jobs have now been lost or are at risk. Can my hon. Friend confirm that she is working with the Department for Transport, Manchester Airport and local authorities to ensure that the right employment support is in place for airport workers and for those ancillary jobs and workers whose livelihoods depend on the airport?
My hon. Friend has just outlined the work that Greater Manchester jobcentre has already done with key partners to ensure that the reach of our rapid response and redundancy service is extensive, fully working and accommodating all those who she outlined need it. We demonstrated the effectiveness of this service during the demise of Thomas Cook and Flybe—when they collapsed—and the evidence is that the DWP is ready to respond and support all those to find new employment and new career opportunities.