Coronavirus: Devolved leaders urge PM to help aerospace sector

The first ministers of the devolved nations have called for "urgent" UK government intervention to help the struggling aerospace sector.

Scotland's Nicola Sturgeon, Mark Drakeford of Wales and Arlene Foster from Northern Ireland have signed a joint letter.

They believe a task force should be launched to help the industry, which has been hit hard by coronavirus.

The BBC has asked the UK government for a response.

The letter is also signed by leaders of the Unite union which brought the politicians together for the initiative.

Unite says tens of thousands of jobs in the sector and associated industries are on the "brink of being lost forever".

In May, MPs were told up to 8,000 jobs could go in the aerospace sector in Wales.

Scotland has also been hit hard with more than 1,200 jobs likely to go at companies such as Rolls Royce and GE Caledonian.

In Northern Ireland Bombardier, Collins Aerospace and Thompson Aero have announced plans to lay off more than 1,300 staff.

'Positive signal'

The political leaders said the creation of an aerospace task force "would be a positive signal to the sector".

They added such a move would show "all our governments remain committed to working together in order to preserve this sector that is hugely important to the whole of the UK".

And they stressed the need to act quickly, warning: "Urgent intervention is now required to preserve capability and avert further damaging losses."

The proposed task force would include "active participation" from the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as unions and companies working in the sector.

Ms Sturgeon said: "As we approach the closure of the furlough scheme at the end of October, there is a real possibility of significant job losses across the UK.

"We have repeatedly called for the UK government to reconsider its position and to extend the scheme, Read More – Source

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