I MAKE no apology for having urged our MPs in Gloucestershire to step up to the plate and help us all to stave off the impending jobs crisis.

So, it’s good to see that one of our MPs, Richard Graham of Gloucester, has managed to recruit the rest of the county MPs to back his LiftOff for Gloucestershire Jobs, Skills and Apprenticeships.

All of our MPs-Stroud’s SiobhAn Baillie, Cheltenham’s Alex Chalk, the Cotswolds Sir Geoffrey-Clifton Brown, the Forest of Dean‘s Mark Harper and Tewkesbury’s Laurence Robertson, have all promised to be at the September 11 event at the Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester.

Richard told me:”This event is in the nature of a call to arms across the county.

“We need this LiftOff to showcase what we have available in help for businesses as well as jobs, skills training and apprenticeships.

“We want to attract small and big employers to the event as well as job seekers. “We’ve been here before after the great Recession of 2008-09, but the context is very different and the scale of the challenge for businesses almost certainly greater.”

And here in Gloucestershire where we have had 89 000 employees on furlough as many as 45 per cent of those people could well find themselves redundant by the time the furlough scheme closes at the end of October.

So, this event which we at Business West are backing with GFirstLEP and key firms like EDF Energy and SpiraxSarco, is so important. Richard has persuaded the Employment Minister, Mims Davies to attend the event at the rugby stadium virtually and the Apprenticeships Minister, Gillian Keegan will actually be there. A great line-up with all our MPs.

Very innovative too with nine main sponsoring companies being able to use Gloucester’s match day boxes to talk about job opportunities and give apprenticeship advice to young people visiting from schools.

Further information on September 11 through Dan Seamarks at Richard Graham’s office-daniel.seamarks@parliament.uk