Budget must do more to protect manufacturing jobs, says MP

April 20, 2009 12:00 AM

Paul Rowen MP - Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Works and PensionsAhead of this week's budget announcement, Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has called on the government to do more to protect jobs in manufacturing.

Mr Rowen, who is the Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions, has said that the Government needs to take this action in cities and towns like Manchester and Rochdale.

He said: "In the last twelve months unemployment has risen to over 2 million with jobs in manufacturing and those in the north bearing the brunt. The next set of figures due out on budget day promise more grim news. In the face of this I want to see our government doing what has been implemented in France, Germany and now Wales and offer employers short time wage subsidies to keep their staff on. This would enable them to pay employees to undertake further training when there are insufficient orders to keep them employed full time.

"In the last few weeks I've spoken to several Rochdale based companies who face stiff competition from competitors on the continent that are being supported by this type of scheme. They have cut employee numbers to the bone and cannot afford to lose valuable skills. Without a scheme like this they will go the wall. I hope the lesson of this recession is that we need to expand manufacturing and the skills and expertise of companies in Manchester and the North West. A short time wage subsidy is now backed by both the TUC and the CBI. I hope Alistair Darling listens and acts before it is too late."