The news that Airbus are cutting 1700 jobs in the UK came as a terrible blow.
And hearing that 1400 of those job losses will be at Broughton has rammed home the severity of the situation we are in.
Airbus management want to achieve these cuts through voluntary redundancy but even if they succeed, it is still 1400 fewer skilled and well-paid jobs in our area.
It has been calculated that every aerospace job at a main manufacturer like Airbus generates around 5 or even 6 other jobs, in the supply chain or in the wider service sector. So, cuts such as these will be a terrible pill to take for the whole area.
The main reason for the job losses is because airlines have stopped flying their aircraft and will not get back to levels of before the pandemic for maybe four years. As a result, fewer new aircraft are being ordered.
Which is also bad for the environment, New aircraft are cleaner and greener, and I am also worried that the crisis will delay the next important steps in sustainable aviation.
But it is not just big employers who suffer. Readers of The Chester & District Standard will have seen last week the sad news of the closure of the Mad Hatter Tea Rooms in town, the latest small business to fall away.
So far, the support from the government has been welcome. The Job Retention Scheme and the Small Business Income Support Scheme have worked well, although there are still too many self-employed left out.
And there is no point getting us through the lock down period only for hundreds of thousands of jobs to be lost straight afterwards. Giving a shock to the economy that will take years to repair.
So, I want the government to be bold, to put jobs first. That means saving the skilled jobs we have, not just hoping new jobs will be created. If that means extending the furlough scheme in key sectors – such as skilled manufacturing like airbus, or the tourism sector which is so important to Chester – then we must extend it. Because once those jobs are gone, we can’t get them back.
Yes, this will cost the nation. But it is a lot easier to pay off debt when everyone is working, rather than paying people to be unemployed.
There is a role for government in saving the future. Not standing back but giving hope: hope for a stronger future together. I hope ministers take that chance.