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Commenting on Boris Johnson's announcement, Stephen Phipson, Make UK chief executive, said:

"We are pleased that the Government are advising us that we are now through the peak of this pandemic - but we have not forgotten that many manufacturing firms have lost valued colleagues and friends over the last few weeks. They will not be forgotten.

"The Government are encouraging those manufacturers who have not continued to operate to return to business. We cautiously welcome this. However, it is critical that there is clear advice on how to do that, and an understanding that firms will be helped to comply as we navigate uncharted waters, and not punished for inadvertent errors. In many parts of manufacturing people will need to work much more closely than 2 metres apart.

"It is vital that the guidance is explicit about how this may be achieved safely. Where this requires PPE, employers across the country are seeking clear advice on what products are needed, what standard they should be produced to, and confidence that they can be sourced in ways which does not reduce supply to the NHS, care homes and front line workers.

"Like any business, manufacturers need demand for their product if they are going to supply it. Everyone should be clear that huge sectors like automotive and aerospace will struggle to return to normal levels of production whilst retail stores remain closed and airlines remain grounded. The supply chains involved are likely to be under pressure for many more months and if we are to avoid mass redundancies and the loss of skilled jobs, Government support will need to continue for several months.

"Government has been swift, pragmatic and supportive in recent months. We stand ready to work with them in partnership as we plan for the next stage of economic recovery."

News / Coronavirus / Make UK