Experts have highlighted manufacturers in the aerospace and automotive supply chains as particularly in need of support in the recovery from COVID-19.
Manufacturers’ organisation Make UK has asked the government to offer special treatment to companies in both sectors to ensure their short-term survival through the pandemic.
The aerospace sector has been rocked by a significant drop in air travel during the pandemic and fears that the aviation industry will take many years to recover. Rolls-Royce has already announced that it will be cutting 3,000 jobs across the UK as part of a plan to cut its global workforce by a fifth. Similarly, Boeing has announced plans to cut nearly 13,000 jobs worldwide after customers cancelled more than 100 orders for its 737 aircraft in April.
Meanwhile, UK car production has fallen to its lowest level since the Second World War after largely being forced to a standstill due to supply chain disruption. According to one statistic from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), just 15 commercial vehicles were produced in the UK in April.
It is hoped that the automotive sector will bounce back due to pent up demand later in the year.
However, Make UK said it was concerned that major companies in both sectors may already be damaged to such an extent that they will not be able to protect employees that are currently on furlough.
Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, commented:
“These companies are in key strategic sectors for the UK internationally and provide substantial numbers of highly skilled jobs across the UK and down through their supply chains. Many are also in regions which would suffer disproportionate economic harm if they did not survive.”
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