Coronavirus: Barrow economy could be ‘shielded’ by BAE

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A town could be “shielded” from economic damage caused by coronavirus because its main employer is defence giant BAE Systems, a council has said.

Government statistics list Barrow in Cumbria has having the highest Covid-19 infection rate in the UK.

But Barrow Council chief executive Sam Plum said it could benefit from BAE’s strong economic position.

More than a third of the town’s workers are based at the shipyard and many others work in the local supply chain.

“It should shield Barrow in some way from the worst economic hardships and help us be in a good position to bounce back,” Ms Plum said.

The number of positive cases of Covid-19 in Barrow was “not huge” but the infection rate seemed worse because the town’s population was not large, Ms Plum said.

The council believes University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust’s proactivity in testing “has something to do with” the figures.

It is thought they could also have been skewed by the large numbers of BAE workers and their families being tested as a priority, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The authority has called on the government to look into the issue.

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