The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, tasked by Government to promote economic growth and job creation for the county, has today published its Recovery Plan for the aerospace sector, based on the recommendations of the Lancashire Aerospace Task Force. The Lancashire Aerospace Recovery Plan is the culmination of 15 weeks’ work by the Task Force, comprised of business leaders from the aerospace industry. Convened and chaired by the LEP, the Task Force was formed, in response to the impact of Covid-19, on the aerospace sector, which is being severely and adversely impacted, resulting in significant job losses in a highly skilled workforce.
Claire Whelan, Director of the Ansuka Group and member of the Task Force and LEP Board Director explained, ‘The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Manufacturing Group took the decision to undertake a deep dive into the aerospace sector when it became clear, businesses operating within the industry were experiencing difficulties. The redundancies announced by Rolls Royce and Safran provided a real indication to the LEP and its Manufacturing Group that action was required to mitigate further adverse effects of the pandemic on a sector that provides large-scale, high value employment in the county. As a result, the LEP brought together senior business leaders from some of Lancashire’s key aerospace companies to establish a Task Force to identify the immediate challenges and define the support needed for these businesses to survive and stabilise in the first instance.’
Claire went on to say, ‘By bringing together a range of businesses from those operating in the aerospace sector, the LEP obtained real-time evidence on the issues and challenges encountered, and what is needed in terms of support and interventions. This means that when the LEP is talking to Government and local partners about what is required and begins to implement the recommendations of the Task Force, it is confident that any support and interventions are based on solid evidence, provided and validated by industry. Delivery of this Plan is vital if we are going to prevent further redundancies and businesses going into distress.
‘Lancashire has world-renowned aerospace capabilities which not only provide high value employment opportunities, but also make a significant contribution to the county’s economy as a whole. The impact of Covid-19 has diminished decades of sustainable growth in the sector, creating supply chain vulnerability and the loss of good jobs, built from a rich heritage of over 100 years in aircraft production in Lancashire. This is why it is important that any interventions for the sector have been articulated and developed by the industry themselves to ensure we retain these capabilities and skills in the county, and continue to lead the way in innovative civil and defence aircraft manufacturing.’
The Lancashire Aerospace Recovery Plan identifies 15 interventions over the short, medium and longer term, based on three different scenarios the sector may face, which in in turn, depend on the duration of travel restrictions and quarantine rules. Claire explained, ‘Those operating within the civil aerospace supply chains have been particularly affected as the demand for new aircraft is experiencing record lows, and many of these businesses are reporting a reduction of between 40% and 50% in revenues since lockdown restrictions were imposed. The Lancashire Aerospace Recovery Plan identifies ways in which businesses can stabilise and recover from the crisis and ensure Lancashire retains its position in the global market, ready for when the sector returns to growth.
‘However we cannot achieve this in isolation which is why we will be looking to work with local partners and Government to determine how we implement the support packages and pieces of work which have been identified by the Task Force to secure the long term sustainability of the sector.’
The Aerospace Recovery Plan can be viewed in full on the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s website here