Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer calls for more help for tourism and manufacturing as he visits Falmouth

Sir Keir Starmer in Falmout
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer visited Falmouth today (Wednesday 29 July) to talk to local businesses. Credit: ITV West Country

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for more support for staff working in tourism and manufacturing during a visit to Cornwall, claiming they are falling through the cracks.

He said there is 'huge cause for concern', with Visit Cornwall expecting to lose out on around £800 million worth of income because of the pandemic.

Sir Keir said the Government needs to do more to protect jobs in tourism and manufacturing.

He revealed businesses and communities in Cornwall have told him they are struggling due to the shorter season and social distancing.

He told ITV News: "I say to the Government - put some support into these important sectors here in Cornwall. Allow them to survive into the autumn and into the next year because we can't let good businesses go under."

The opposition leader told us he wants the Government to provide tailored support for West Country businesses.

Along with tourism, the Labour leader also spoke about the impact on manufacturing, aviation and hospitality.

He said the strain on manufacturing industries here in the South West - such as Dyson and Airbus - is a 'cause for concern' amidst fears that changes in the furlough scheme will lead to job losses.

Bristol, Newquay and Exeter airports have been badly affected by the pandemic. When asked how a tailored scheme would work practically considering the huge supply chains these businesses have, Sir Keir Starmer said there was no alternative.

He said: "It is reasonably easy to identify the sectors most at risk - hospitality, tourism, aviation are obvious examples of that.

"To have a tailored approach in relation to them, the alternative cannot be to simply say to these businesses 'because it is difficult to put in the support, we're not going to do it and I'm afraid you'll have to go under', and thousands of businesses and jobs in the South West go with it."

However, the Government hit back at Sir Keir's comments, saying they had provided an unprecedented package of support for jobs and businesses.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: "At a time when we are protecting almost 10 million people’s incomes – and supporting millions more through our safety net welfare system – it is disappointing to see Sir Keir Starmer using selective figures to chase headlines and score cheap political points.

"We have been honest with the British public that while we cannot save every job, we have introduced an unprecedented package of support for jobs and businesses, which have particularly helped the hospitality and tourism sectors. Our Plan for Jobs will support Britain getting back into work, something we hope the Labour Party will get behind."