A transport union leader has urged the Government to immediately set up a ‘Ministry of Supply’ in the battle against Coronavirus.
The TSSA is a trade union for the transport and travel trade industries with many members in the UK and Ireland working for the railways and associated companies.
Mr Cortes (pictured) said the ministry would take over the running of all public transport and freight so that medical staff and other key workers are able to provide vital services to the people most in need. It would also be able to make sure the production of ventilators is stepped up, ‘just like Spitfires in World War II’.
He said: ‘Our Government must realise that what we now face calls for extraordinary measures. This is a battle to protect the population and that means being on a war footing. What we need is a Ministry of Supply - a single government department which can take the lead in this crisis and make sure we can all pull together.
‘Coronavirus will test us in ways we are only just beginning to understand, but we must keep the country moving, and able to supply healthcare and medicines. Just to keep our NHS and care systems working and supplied several million people need to get to work every day and hence we must keep transport going.’
He added: ‘The department would also be able to coordinate the supply of food, so that there are no needless shortages and assist with food deliveries for those over seventy years of age and other vulnerable members of our population.
‘The time to act is now and the next time we hear from Boris Johnson I hope he has the good sense to focus our efforts to fight coronavirus through a supply ministry.’
Following Mr Cortes’ comments on Monday, Mr Johnson held the first of what will be daily press conferences on the coronavirus outbreak, with a request for the public to step up social distancing measures. He did not announce the creation of a Ministry of Supply.