THIS week's MPs column comes from Judith Cummins, Labour MP for Bradford South.

THE number one priority for the Government in the coming months must be to get the health emergency under control and prevent a second wave of coronavirus spreading throughout the country. 

A close second, however, is the need to support the economy through these difficult times and begin our national recovery. 

There is no doubt that there has been a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases in the Bradford district and the Government has sought to control the spread of the virus through putting in place extra restrictions here. 

It is my view that as national restrictions increase, local restrictions become more and more irrelevant. 

I am continuing to push the government for more clarity around the effectiveness of its approach, as I want assurances that the extra financial and emotional hardship we are enduring are having a positive impact on fighting this terrible virus.

I know the majority of people in Bradford South will play their part by sticking to the rules and helping the effort to reduce deaths through the coming winter.

The scale of the economic crisis we are facing is enormous. 

Many sectors, such as hospitality and travel, have taken a huge financial hit over the period of lockdown. Many others have faced cash flow problems and a general drop in demand. 

The local restrictions in place in Bradford have caused further hardship for many local businesses.

In my own constituency, we have seen unemployment rise sharply since March. 

Sadly, the end of the furlough scheme next month will undoubtedly lead to a further round of job losses. 

The announcements made by the Chancellor last week are simply not good enough, as it is cheaper for a company to bring back one worker full-time and sack another, rather than bringing both workers back part-time.

This combined with no specific help for sectors that can’t operate fully due to government restrictions raises doubts about how effective this scheme will be. 

The Chancellor seems to be putting at risk the jobs of workers in whole sectors of our economy. Every job lost is a family hurt. 

The self-employed scheme also does not go far enough to support those who are struggling with the economic effects of the virus and the lockdown, whilst those who have fallen through the gaps of previous schemes are similarly excluded from these ones. 

Instead of these piecemeal announcements, what we really needed was a comprehensive Budget to save jobs and begin the rebuilding process, but the Chancellor has scrapped the autumn budget. 

As well as schemes to help workers in the short term, many workers will need support to retrain and adapt in the long run. 

Young people, in particular, will need increased support as they join a difficult jobs market. 

For this reason, I am delighted to be once again supporting Bradford

Manufacturing Weeks, which take place this year between 5th and 16th October. 
Manufacturing plays a hugely important role in Bradford’s economy accounting for 27,000 jobs, which is 13.6 per cent of all jobs compared to 8.1 per cent nationally. 

In Bradford South 9,000 manufacturing jobs account for 24.3 per cent of the total. 

Bradford Manufacturing Weeks, run by the local Chambers of Commerce, introduces young people to a career in manufacturing. 

During this year’s events held online, manufacturing businesses from across the district will provide career insight, advice and guidance to pupils from more than 35 schools. 

This is an outstanding local initiative which I know from previous years has inspired young people across the district and provided much practical support to them as they embark on their careers. 

I congratulate all the students and businesses taking part and hope they have an extremely successful event.