I was pleased to join Easyjet workers outside Parliament to join the Travel Day of Action. The campaign, led by the aviation industry, is calling on the Government to provide a sector support package and allow foreign travel to safely reopen.
The pandemic has been a catastrophe for the travel industry, closing borders, and even making most travel to and from the UK illegal for months on end. Data from ABTA estimates that as many as 195,000 jobs have been lost or are at risk within the travel industry. Across the country, 1.6 million jobs depend on the UK’s aviation sector which contributes £22 billion to the national economy. At Luton Airport, a lack of support from central government has already meant the loss of at least 250 jobs. easyJet, based in Luton, has also cut over 1,400 jobs across the country.
I joined my Luton North colleague in writing a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, asking the Government “to do whatever it takes to save as many jobs and businesses in our town as possible, and to set out a plan for a strong recovery for the aviation sector when it is finally safe for people to travel again.”
In the letter, we also highlighted the ever-evolving chaos at the border, where the poorly implemented ‘red list’ system failed to keep out the Delta Variant from India which is now the dominant strain in our country, is spreading exponentially, and has meant the delay to the reopening of the economy that was originally scheduled for June 21st.
With restrictions on international travel expected to continue for some time, without a meaningful package of financial support – a crucial period of the year for travel businesses – many thousands of livelihoods are at stake, as well as the ability of the travel sector to recover and reconnect the UK to the world.
The aviation sector is critical to Luton’s local economy. Luton Airport creates good local jobs, and as Luton Council is the shareholder, per passenger fees directly fund local services and charities.
The Government’s failure to provide a comprehensive support package to get the sector through the crisis has worsened our local economy’s suffering. Many jobs in the aviation sector hang in the balance as the Government continues to sit on its hands.
I’ll keep standing up for jobs in Luton South and calling for a conditional aviation support package, which includes green commitments, to protect our local economy and the industry’s future.
You can read the full letter below.