Fears of Lancashire aviation job losses shot down by BAE Systems and business chiefs

Fears that Lancashire jobs are at serious risk from the impacts of the coronavirus crisis because of the county’s dependence on the aviation industry and service sector have been shot down by business chiefs.

Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 12:45 pm
BAe Systems makes the Hawk, the Typhoon and parts of the F-35

The Centre for Cities estimated that around one in five jobs in cities and major towns were vulnerable to the economic impacts of Covid-19.

But today BAE Systems said there was no cause for alarm as the company was in a strong position.

The economy of Crawley, near Gatwick airport, is likely to be hardest hit, as it has a large share of employees working in the aviation and aircraft manufacturing industries, said the report.

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Blackpool is predicted to suffer as a result of coronavirus

Other areas facing the biggest impact include Luton and Derby, while in Scotland, Aberdeen, where the economy is dominated by the oil and gas ectors, is likely to be worst affected.

The study has Blackpool in the top 10 most likely to be affected by coronavirus – and Preston in the top 10 least affected.

BAE Systems employs around 9,000 staff at its sites at Warton and Samlesbury.

The Blackpool area also includes Fylde – which houses BAE’ Systems’s Warton site – for the purposes of the study.

The resort’s reliance on tourism, which has been decimated since the lockdown, is also a contributing factor to the report’s findings.

According to the survey, exports are key to an area’s future prosperity.

An area’s reliance on the leisure industry, tourism and so on is also a factor.

Centre for Cities’ chief executive Andrew Carter said: “It appears that places that are particularly reliant on aviation are likely to be hit hardest.

"Because of this, a one-size-fits-all approach to economic recovery will not work.

“Once the immediate health crisis passes, policymakers will need to tailor their economic interventions to specific cities and regions.”

Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said”The UK has world-class airline and aerospace companies – highly developed and world leading – but the sector needs support in the period of recovery from this pandemic.”

“Thousands of jobs are dependent on the sector regaining its position.”

A BAE Systems spokesman said: “Our sites in Warton and Samlesbury remain operational and we have taken steps to adapt our working environments to meet new guidelines and ensure our employees are fully appraised of the changes we have made to ensure their health and well-being.

“The company is in a strong position with a large order backlog, mainly consisting of long-term Government contracts and we continue to work closely with our UK and international customers, suppliers and local stakeholders as the situation evolves to understand how we can support them during this challenging time.”

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are seeing the impact which coronavirus is having in the service sector in Lancashire, in particular the leisure and tourism industries, but there is nothing to suggest this is impacting our manufacturing base.”