UK ministers have been urged to act now to support the aviation and travel industry – or face the prospect of thousands losing their jobs.

The call came as Paisley and Renfrewshire MP, Gavin Newlands, demanded answers at Transport Questions on Thursday.

With the furlough scheme due to end this month fears are growing that without further support, aviation faces a bleak short-term future, with thousands of jobs already lost over the last 18 months.

Pre-pandemic, over 23,000 jobs across Scotland relied on Glasgow Airport, with over 6,000 of those in Renfrewshire depending on activity at the airport.

Newlands called on transport ministers to lobby the Chancellor and other ministers to extend the furlough scheme beyond its currently scheduled closure at the end of September.

Gavin said: “Over 3,000 jobs in my constituency are estimated to have been lost from the aviation and travel industry, with tens of thousands, possible hundreds of thousands lost across the country.

“With the furlough scheme ending later this month the sector faces even more carnage, with more jobs lost and a huge impact on our local economy here in Renfrewshire.

“6,000 jobs locally are at threat if quick action isn’t taken to support these workers and businesses.”

He added: “The UK Government appears to simply not understand the magnitude of the crisis facing aviation and travel in this country and have simply given up on this key industry.

“This is in direct contrast to the Scottish Government which has done all it can with the limited powers it has to protect jobs and businesses, including full relief from business rates.

“It’s up to Transport ministers in Whitehall to lobby their colleagues in Cabinet to get furlough extended for a sector that – according to the independent IFS – has been hit hardest by the pandemic and its effects, and stop thousands more people being added to the dole queue.”

Main photo credit: Rene Rauschenberger / Pixabay