County Cllr Julie Gibson, Labour Group Shadow Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration has responded to the recently published “Redefining Lancashire” document published by Lancashire County Council.
She said: “The document set out the steps the County Council is putting to government to help the economic recovery of the County after Covid-19. Although I welcome what the document is trying to achieve, I think it is a missed opportunity to look at a new way of doing business in the County. The main worry for people at the moment is losing their jobs, and that is why good jobs should be at the heart of any recovery plan. Jobs in the manufacturing sector, the new and emerging green tech industries, the automotive and aerospace are unique to Lancashire. Many of these jobs are high-skilled and need protecting.”
She continued: “The claimant count in West Lancashire still stands at 5.5% and the “Redefining Lancashire” document points out that West Lancashire had the largest increase in applicants for Job Seekers Allowance (56%) in May 2020 across the whole of the County. Workers who have required support from the job retention scheme and self-employed income support scheme are most likely to face unemployment risks in the months ahead.”
Cllr Gibson said: “That is why I welcome a recently published study from the TUC and partners which focuses on:
- Investing in Jobs – developing a regional-level green industrial strategy.
- New ways of doing business – attaching conditions to commissioning and procurement processes that improve job quality and strengthen workers’ involvement
- Rebuilding public services – bringing outsourced services back in house
Cllr Gibson concluded: “We cannot risk a return to the days of mass unemployment and the poverty and isolation that goes with it. We need to “Build back better” and ensure that investment into Lancashire is conditional on good employment standards and a living wage to ensure that all workers can benefit from, and contribute to, the Lancashire economy.”