10:18AM, Thursday 21 May 2020
Theresa May has called on the Government to support the aviation industry and the 1,700 people in her constituency who work in the sector.
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, May 12, the Maidenhead MP asked transport secretary Grant Shapps what the Government was doing to restart the aviation industry in the UK safely amid the COVID-19 crisis.
She said: “I received a letter yesterday from the Secretary of State telling me that aviation supports more than half a million jobs, and about 1,700 of those workers are in my constituency.
“Aviation underpins the global reach of our economy, yet that global reach is currently stymied and might be about to be cut off.
“What are the Government doing with our allies, including the United States and other European countries, to ensure that we get aviation going again safely, without a negative impact on our economy, and that the global reach of our UK economy can be maintained.”
Mrs May asked the question in response to Mr Shapps revealing the Government’s latest guidance about transport during the coronavirus outbreak, where he revealed some of the measures being taken to improve transportation around the country.
In response to Mrs May’s question, Mr Shapps said: “I absolutely agree with her, as a passionate supporter of aviation, and indeed a qualified pilot, about the importance of the industry.
“There is a process that enables aviation companies, whether they are ground support, airlines or airports, to use the various schemes available and, if that is not enough, come to the Department for Transport and work with us and the Treasury to see what else can be done.
“It is important that we do not find ourselves in a situation where shareholders benefit through the good times but the taxpayer picks up the tab in the bad times. It is very important that we get the balance right, with shareholders also being asked to contribute.
“The global aviation market has now shrunk to a tiny percentage of what it would be ordinarily. The best way to resolve that is to beat this virus, which is why it is so important that people follow the guidance.”