At yesterday’s County Council, Cllr Rufus Gilbert, Cabinet member for Economy and Skills, reported on the Council’s efforts to support Flybe’s operations at Exeter Airport after the company was forced to put itself up for sale (Virgin has shown interest but nothing has yet been agreed). I think that DCC and other local councils have done what they should in the crisis, including an offer to explore additional projects for the company’s Training Academy.
However the fact remains that the last two-and-a-half years of Brexit uncertainty and the plummeting pound it has caused have helped undermine the airline. As Sky’s City editor reported, ‘Sources said a combination of Brexit-related uncertainty, the weaker pound and soaring fuel costs had led Flybe’s directors to conclude that a takeover was likely to be required to preserve its future.’
I asked Cllr Gilbert if he agreed that it was shocking that the Government’s policies had led to this threat to Devon’s air services and our regional airport. But he was having none of it. “Brexit had nothing to do with it’, was all he could say.
It’s time to call a halt to this accelerating self-harm, which also threatens our farming, health, university and small business sectors – and has already seen living standards decline. I shall be asking the County Council on 6th December to support a new referendum in which voters can choose between accepting the miserable deal the Government has negotiated or remaining in the European Union.