20,000 West Midlands aerospace jobs at risk unless Government steps in, says MP

Twenty thousand aerospace jobs in the West Midlands could be at risk unless the Government steps in due to the pandemic, an MP has said.

MP Suzanne Webb
MP Suzanne Webb

Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb is to write to the aviation minister asking him to consider measures to help the West Midlands’ aerospace industry following an online meeting chaired by Mayor Andy Street.

The pandemic has put the sector that employs 20,000 people in the West Midlands under pressure even though the UK has the fourth largest aerospace industry in the world.

The meeting heard the industry is not expected to recover financially to 2019 levels until 2023 because of Covid and it has suffered a 61 per cent loss in revenue.

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Even if life returns to normal, it could take 16 months before suppliers make any money because of the disruption.

Ms Webb said she would write to the minister, Roberts Courts, asking him what can be done to help the industry specifically and protect local jobs.

The meeting called for the government to look at helping with four objectives:

  • Redeploy workers to preserve their skills by finding alternate employment for them or alternatively offer flexible hours and remote working to keep as many jobs as possible

  • The Government to do everything it can to get people flying again, with rapid testing capacity at airports before flights and more travel corridors.

  • Offer financial aid repayable based on business performance.

  • Look to formulate an improved vision for electrification in aerospace.

Ms Webb added: “Jobs in the West Midlands rely on this world-beating sector, which is a major component of British industrial excellence that should be playing a big part as we become an independent trading nation once again.

“However, Covid has done a great deal of damage and the industry needs help, otherwise jobs and expertise will be lost, not only to the West Midlands but the whole UK.

“I do support the objectives outlined in this meeting, particularly measures to get people flying again.

"The government has put in place very generous support for businesses and jobs throughout the pandemic but I believe there is an argument for ministers to look into what extra can be done for this sector.”

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