I planned on speaking in today’s debate on aviation, travel and tourism industries. I wasn’t called to speak, but here is what I would have said:

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The aviation industry has been devasted by the global health crisis.

Last summer, passenger numbers were down by over 75%, with airports losing an estimated £2.6 billion between April and September.

As we have seen, many companies have taken economic support from the Government to mitigate the impact of the restrictions, but job losses in the industry and its supply chain have been huge – IATA estimates that of the 1.6 million jobs in aviation, travel, and tourism, 860,000 have either already been lost or are sustained only by government furlough.

This side of the House made it clear to the Government.

Step in to protect employment and our economy – but ensure that when taking support, companies adhere to clear social and environmental expectations.

Such as the protection of jobs, the timely payment of UK-based suppliers, a commitment to the climate crisis in line with the Paris Agreement, moving their tax base to the UK, and complying with consumer rights regulations.

I am deeply concerned that if a longer-term conditional support plan for aviation to facilitate the gradual restart is not forthcoming, many jobs will be lost, and companies may pursue the abhorrent fire and rehire tactic. The Government should have legislated to outlaw the practise as soon as it was employed at the beginning of the crisis

The Government has a wider question to answer. What do they want the sector to look like after the pandemic?

Luton Airport is my constituency, and my support for the airport is based on its creation of good jobs in my town for local people, and the vital revenue it creates for Luton Council as its shareholder.

Given the 82% drop in passenger numbers, compared to pre-covid levels, there has been a severe knock-on impact on the whole of our community. Important jobs have been lost and funding has been cut to key council services and local charitable organisations.

So, if the aviation industry is going to recover and continue being central to Luton’s local economy, as well as the national economy, there needs to be a longer-term view of how to create an industry fit for the 21st century.

There must be a concerted effort to speed up the industry’s green transition to contribute to tackling the climate emergency.

Luton Airport outlined its ambition to become the most sustainable airport in the UK over the next 20 years, but a national green recovery needs to be driven by the Government.

The UK has the potential to be a global leader in aviation decarbonisation. We have a proud history of aviation innovation, and through a green aviation recovery, we can create long-term skilled jobs and sustainable growth in the industry.

Ahead of COP26, we need Government to take further action to support the introduction of sustainable aviation fuels, technological innovations, and airspace modernisation, as well as a commitment to pursuing an international agreement on a long-term CO2 target for global aviation.

Aviation decarbonisation provides an opportunity for the UK to lead a bold new green economic recovery. The time for action is now – the Government must act.

Thank you.”

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