BBC reports on looming economic crisis for Hounslow and surrounding areas

This week, BBC London News highlighted the economic storm about to hit the London Borough of Hounslow.

43,000 jobs in the borough depend on Heathrow, with 11,000 local people directly employed there and another 32,000 in the supply chain.

Source: Hounslow Council

Passenger numbers are already down 97%, leading many companies to furlough staff in the hope of saving their jobs until the Coronavirus crisis has passed. The decision to introduce 14-day quarantine for arrivals is likely to reduce passenger numbers still further and the government’s plans to transfer much of the cost of the furlough scheme to employers could have dire consequences for boroughs like Hounslow.

Wayne King of Unite the Union, which represents thousands of workers at Heathrow, told the BBC: “As employers begin to ease out of furlough, some of them are not going to be able to afford the contributions the government is looking for them to make. Mass redundancies will have a devastating effect on the local economy.”

The news item suggested the economic output in the borough could fall by 40% and one-in-three households is at risk of job losses.

Source: Hounslow Council

The government seems determined to push ahead on its quarantine plan. The leader of Hounslow Council, Cllr Steve Curran, wants the government to carefully consider the consequences.

“We are moving on to the economic crisis. I would ask people to think really hard about what that will mean, if there is mass unemployment.”

Without a concerted government plan for recovery in aviation, boroughs like Hounslow will be dealing with an economic crisis on top of the Covid-19 pandemic.