14 May 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Aerospace industry needs support to avoid mass redundancies in Wales
  • Govt misled businesses over post-Brexit customs checks
  • Lib Dems oppose Govt’s Immigration Bill
  • EU Commission launch legal action against UK government’s failings over citizens’ rights
  • Govt must continue to help businesses and families

Aerospace industry needs support to avoid mass redundancies in Wales

A dire assessment of the aerospace industry’s current situation by Aerospace Wales Chief Executive John Whalley has prompted the Welsh Liberal Democrats to call for the Welsh Government to give the industry a much-needed financial lifeline.

Aerospace Wales is the umbrella organisation which represent aerospace companies in Wales. Collectively it employs around 21,000 people, with Airbus forming the largest share of this total.

In April, Airbus placed 3,200 members of its Broughton staff, roughly half their total number, on furlough. Recently a further 500 Airbus agency staff were told they are to remain on furlough but were facing imminent redundancy.

Speaking at the Welsh Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Whalley said the industry was facing 30% cuts in staff across the entire UK and might never recover to pre-crisis levels of employment.

This means Wales could face at least 8,000 redundancies, with many being high skilled production jobs in their North Wales facilities.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

The aerospace industry is a vital employer, especially in North Wales. Airbus forms the backbone of the local economy in and around Broughton. If we do not act now thousands of jobs could be lost overnight, devastating these communities.

There are two things that need to happen. Firstly, the Welsh Government need to commit to making financial support available for companies like Airbus, who have seen their business ground to a halt due to the crisis and for whom there is no easy recovery.

Secondly, we need to get big employers including Airbus, Debenhams, Ford, and others around the table to discuss what we can do to create a more business-friendly environment here in Wales.

For too long we have struggled to attract new investment and often tried to tell the business community what will work for them. This needs to change, and we need to be working hand in hand with the business sector to nurture our economy and create more well paid and secure jobs.

Unless we do both of these things then our economy will fail to bounce back, and we will slide into a long and severe recession. We cannot afford that. The people Wales cannot afford that. We must act now.

Chris Twells, Welsh Liberal Democrat Lead Senedd Candidate for North Wales, added:

We all knew that this pandemic was going to hit businesses hard, but the report from Aerospace Wales makes for dire reading.

Aerospace businesses provide thousands of well-paid jobs across North Wales. These are jobs which we simply cannot afford to lose and that is why we need action now.

I hope the Welsh Government will act swiftly to support these vital employers so we can avoid mass redundancies and give people the job security they deserve.

Govt misled businesses over post-Brexit customs checks

Responding to the Government’s admission that there will be customs checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea after the Brexit transition period ends, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs and Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Johnson’s Government has failed to give businesses much needed clarity on this issue. It now seems Johnson was deeply dishonest with businesses when he previously asserted there would be no checks and businesses could put paperwork “in the bin”.

His Brexit deal will mean extra costs and bureaucracy for businesses in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, at a time when many are already struggling with the impact of coronavirus.

Liberal Democrats will continue to call on the Conservative Government to do the right thing and protect UK businesses. As part of this, it is vital the Government extend the transition period to help prevent any additional economic damage.

Lib Dems oppose Govt’s Immigration Bill

The Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment in the House of Commons that would prevent the Government’s Immigration Bill from progressing.

The party is opposing the Conservatives’ plans to end free movement at the end of the year, with Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine arguing that, during the coronavirus crisis, “we should be celebrating the enormous contributions that workers from all over the world make to our NHS, social care and across our society.”

The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, which would end EU free movement, will be debated in the House of Commons on Monday. The Liberal Democrat amendment would refuse to grant the Bill its Second Reading, stopping it from becoming law.

The “reasoned amendment” sets out the party’s opposition to the Bill – including its failure to fully guarantee the rights of EU citizens already living in the UK, something Boris Johnson repeatedly promised to do. It also criticises the Government for failing to set out “an immigration system to replace free movement that would allow businesses and public services to recruit the workers they need”.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine, who tabled the amendment, said:

It is hard to believe that in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Conservatives are still pressing ahead with their destructive plans.

Now more than ever, we should be celebrating the enormous contributions that workers from all over the world make to our NHS, social care and across our society. Priti Patel may consider care workers to be ‘low skilled’, but they are on the front lines protecting us and our loved ones every single day.

If the Conservatives go ahead with these plans, they will deal a massive new blow to the NHS and British businesses, just as the economy is beginning to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

Liberal Democrats are opposing this Bill and arguing instead for a fair, effective and compassionate immigration system that works for our economy and treats everyone with the dignity they deserve.

EU Commission launch legal action against UK government’s failings over citizens’ rights

Responding to the reports that the European Commission has launched legal action against the British government for its “failure to comply” with European Union rules on free movement, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

It is beyond frustrating that it has got to the point where the UK Government is facing legal action to protect the rights of people who contribute so much to this country. The fact that the Commission feels it has to take this action to protect rights after the transition period reflects terribly on the UK government and their actions.

The current crisis has made it clear just how vital immigration is. For our NHS and social care systems, EU workers are key.

Liberal Democrats will continue to call on the Government to scrap its damaging immigration plans and instead build a fair, effective immigration system that treats everyone with dignity and respect.

Govt must continue to help businesses and families

Responding to figures released by the OBR which show the economy could shrink by up to 35% this quarter, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Families across the country are facing great hardship with millions furloughed and on universal credit.

The Government must continue to support businesses and families through this crisis. It must not add to their difficulties by freezing pay for the many public sector workers that have been on the frontline of tackling this pandemic.

There must be no austerity after the coronavirus crisis and we must instead build a fairer greener economy for the future.

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One Comment

  • Government misled … Another headline grabber from the Lib Dems – Not. Do our leaders want us to be noticed? ‘Boris Johnson lied’ is a much more effective headline. The question remains are we prepared to stand up and fight hard like our enemies or are we happy to just talk nicely to no-one but ourselves.

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