It is imperative to get Britain back to work over the summer, warned Black Country MP John Spellar.
In an article for the Financial Times, co-written with North Durham MP and former Defence Minister Kevan Jones, they warn that ‘Unless appropriate action is taken’ to get Brits to work safely, ‘the impact of Coronavirus on the Midlands and North could be worse than Thatcherism.’ The topic of mass redundancies and record levels of unemployment has been thus far absent from the discourse in Westminster and among the commentariat.
They note that ‘Fewer than 200 cars rolled of production lines in the UK in April. Similarly, Rolls Royce have cut 9,000 jobs in the UK, mainly in its civil aerospace sector … This is why the lockdown measures cannot go on forever – or too many people will have no jobs to return to.’
They issued a sharp warning to environmentalists rejoicing at the prospect of the collapse of Britain’s industry: ‘Unless we re-establish Britain’s position as the world’s crossroads and get Britain flying again, there won’t be an industry to transition to a Green future – just an industrial and human wasteland … Similarly, there will be no path for a Green automotive future unless we get our car plants running.’
Spellar called on the Government to do its part, saying it ‘cannot be a bystander’. ‘It needs to knock down obstacles but – crucially – to use the key role of Government as customer to help get business moving. It can do so Buying British. Now we have left the European Union we want to hear no more excuses about being prevented from doing so by EU regulations.’