A local response is key to saving jobs in Wakefield

The longer the coronavirus pandemic lasts, the likelihood increases that each of us will have been affected in some way.

This could be through the loss of someone close to us, or through challenging financial implications.

The thinktank Centre for Cities has identified those parts of the UK that have a large share of jobs at risk to the immediate financial effects of Covid-19.

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Their report found that aviation and manufacturing industries are the most at risk.

Manufacturing is the second largest employer within the Wakefield District and so Wakefield features in this study as an area with a number of jobs potentially at risk.

The data forecast by Centre for Cities suggests that up to 68 per cent of jobs in Wakefield could be affected by the immediate financial effects of Covid-19.

Thirty per cent of these jobs are classed as being vulnerable or very vulnerable.

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Of course, for anyone worried about their long-term job security, these figures make for worrying reading.

However, by highlighting the potential long-term financial impacts of Covid-19 now, there is time to plan and protect the livelihoods of people in the Wakefield District.

Measures have been introduced which workers in Wakefield will be using to help them through this crisis, namely the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Businesses can also access support to help them weather this financial storm.

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However, these measures only go so far to safeguarding jobs. Greater interventions are necessary to avoid permanent damage to our local economy.

A recent survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics backs this up.

The ONS found that 44 per cent of firms surveyed said they do not have enough cash in reserve to last longer than six months.

It is therefore good to see Wakefield Council taking the lead on planning for a local economic recovery, by consulting local businesses over how best they can be supported going forward.

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By planning ahead, Wakefield Council is showing that the key to local economic recovery will be a local response.

Regions of the UK will have differing needs when it comes to the kind of financial support required.

This is something that so far during this crisis, the Tory Government have failed to realise. Any centralised, one size fits all plan will not do.

The £1.8 billion Devolution deal for Yorkshire signed with the Government in early March is now more important than ever. Devolving powers, and giving local people the power to shape how our economy will look after Covid-19, is vital in aiding a recovery.

Devolution is the key.

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It is the way in which the 30 per cent of jobs in Wakefield, which are classed as being vulnerable or very vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic, will have the best chance of surviving.

Our over-centralised political system has failed Yorkshire. We cannot expect it to come to our economic rescue now.