There are calls for the Government to pledge new financial packages for automotive and aerospace firms after the industries were battered by the coronavirus production standstill.
Thousands of jobs have been lost across the country in those key sectors since the pandemic began.
Darren Jones MP and chair of the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee, visited the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port and Airbus in Broughton, North Wales on Thursday, where he met with management and unions to discuss how local jobs could be protected.
He has now called upon on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to pledge support to the sector ahead of his Budget announcement in October, which Mr Jones described as the “most important since the war”.
According to Mr Jones, that support could mean extending and altering the furlough scheme – for example the Government paying a day’s wages a week for manufacturing staff, while the companies cover the other four – similar to a scheme taking place in Germany.
He said: “Automotive and aerospace are two of the jewels in the crown of British manufacturing, but they’ve seen an enormous drop off in consumer demand, as well as business demand.
“It’s going to take a little longer for these sectors to get back to business as usual, so we are asking for sector specific support recognising that manufacturing is an important part of the British economy and accounts for so many jobs.
“We’ve already seen over 10,000 jobs cut across these sectors, and that’s before the end of the furlough scheme.”
Job losses include the announcement on Thursday that 4,000 people are to leave Rolls-Royce.
The BEIS committee is currently working to understand what is needed from the Covid economic recovery strategy, and where the gaps in support currently are, as well as what the Government and business must do to “secure foundations for a return to growth”.
Mr Jones said all eyes will be on Mr Sunak in October, adding: “The Chancellor really needs to come forward with a package of support both financial and regulatory – to help keep British manufacturing jobs in places like Vauxhall.
“Also to make sure Britain remains competitive compared to other European countries, where global businesses may end up moving jobs to other locations.”
He said with the Brexit transition deadline at the end of the year and ‘no deal’ seeming more and more likely, there are even more challenges on the horizon.
BusinessLive is your home for business news from around the North West- and you can stay in touch with all the latest news from Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria through our email alerts.
You can sign up to receive daily morning news bulletins from every region we cover and to weekly email bulletins covering key economic sectors from manufacturing to technology and enterprise. And we’ll send out breaking news alerts for any stories we think you can’t miss.
By bringing together North West coverage with that from across Reach’s titles in England and Wales, BusinessLive will shine a spotlight on the entrepreneurs, the stars of the future and the small firms that are the backbone of our economy.
Visit our email preference centre to sign up to all the latest news from BusinessLive.
“There are fears about more job losses. We have to be honest, it’s not just about Covid. At Vauxhall, the vast majority of vehicles it produces goes to Europe,” he said.
“So with a Brexit deadline at the end of the year, significant lack of progress the Government has made in negotiating a free trade agreement and the potential for tariffs adding cost to production in the UK, that makes us less competitive compared to European countries.
“Adding the self-inflicted Brexit costs to the impact of the Covid pandemic is a real, real threat to jobs in the UK and some of that is avoidable.”