1 Lord Woodley debates involving the Department for International Trade

Covid-19: Children

Lord Woodley Excerpts
Thursday 17th June 2021

(2 years, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Woodley Portrait Lord Woodley (Lab)
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I thank Estelle, the noble Baroness, Lady Morris, although she is not here at the moment. What a wonderful introduction and contribution.

With more than 500,000 under-25s presently unemployed, we have a duty to act now for those individuals and for our country. Of course we do. In my view, an important way of levelling up opportunities for children—in particular furthering their skills and helping to eliminate inequality and child poverty—is reinvesting in our manufacturing industry, which different Governments have allowed to wither on the vine for many years.

Today’s announcement that Vauxhall is offering new product for my plant at Ellesmere Port is potentially great news not only for the workers whose jobs could be at risk, but for the children of those workers and of workers in the vast supply chains that depend on the continued existence of this and other like-minded plants. They will have the chance to acquire useful skills, serve apprenticeships, obtain well-paid jobs and have a future with dignity. In fact, noble Lords may be surprised to know that, through the sports and social club at this one plant, of which I am chairman, 40,000 children—including boys and girls from the age of five upwards—are given sporting activities in just one year. It helps their mental well-being.

Will the Minister join me in calling for a positive strategy to revive not merely the British car industry, which is crying out for investment, but British manufacturing generally and green manufacturing in particular? Every country depends on what it makes. We have a brilliant workforce with all the necessary skills. What we need is a Government committed to investing in it and supporting British manufacturers. This is one way to ensure that children acquire useful training and skills and eliminate inequality and child poverty.

Friends, in my town, my son is a third-generation car worker. He is just about to become a father. I want to make sure that there is a future for this plant and other plants. With that in mind, I thank the House—both Houses, actually—for the tremendous support given in recent times to encourage investment in this plant. On behalf of my town and my family, thank you very much, everybody.

Baroness Garden of Frognal Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Baroness Garden of Frognal) (LD)
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The noble Lord, Lord Griffiths of Burry Port, has withdrawn so I call the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton.