Clear communication to business is not something this government has been blessed with as companies battle to survive the COVID pandemic.
In fact, reading the Sunday Times recently, the headline on much respected business editor Oliver Shah’s article said:
“Business needs to find its voice before it is squashed by this bungling government.”
A bit harsh, perhaps, but true.
The communication to business at such a difficult time must be more joined-up and most importantly, have more clarity and detail.
Gloucestershire appears to be no different to other counties in finding it very difficult to tackle the big issues of jobs, redundancies, re-training and apprenticeships.
Here in Gloucestershire we need clear, simple answers to these questions:
1.How many people have been made redundant or are in the process of losing their jobs?*
2.What sectors are being most hit by redundancies?
3.How many people are still on furlough?
At the last count available - August figures - there were 30,700 on furlough. I estimate that there are currently about 18,700 jobs available in Gloucestershire.
But the fine detail is hard to get.
That is so important to GFirstLEP, for instance, and the Department of Work and Pensions. They are trying their best but even they seem to find it difficult to get hold of accurate figures to help their plans.
I am particularly interested in the stark reality of young people without jobs or losing apprenticeships as firms struggle to survive.
Equally, we must start looking at re-training programmes for experienced workers - those who may have had over 20 years in manufacturing here in Gloucestershire. They may now need re-training to find new jobs.
We must now have a united approach to meet this jobs challenge.
It will not be easy.
I believe we need a jobs and training Task Force for Gloucestershire with all the talents we have - the FE colleges, SGS and Gloucestershire, GFirstLEP, the Department of Work and Pensions and our councils.
Our MPs, led by Gloucester Richard Graham, recently stepped up to the plate on young people and apprenticeships. They must do it again.