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Jeremy Corbyn accuses May of failing to capitalise on the ‘benefit’ of Brexit

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Jeremy Corbyn
Labour Leader Jeremy
Corbyn

Darren
Staples/Reuters


  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke in favour of boosting
    Britain’s manufacturing in a speech to the EEF.
  • Corbyn says because of a lack of infrastructure
    strategy from the Government, manufacturers couldn’t take
    advantage of the post referendum fall in the
    pound. 
  • However, Lib Dem Brexit spokesperson says to Business
    Insider: ‘”Saying a drop in the pound is good for exporters is
    a bit like saying a flood is excellent news for
    swimmers”.
  • Corbyn hit out at May for “cosying up to Donald
    Trump”  and not putting British workers
    first. 

LONDON: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused Prime Minister
Theresa May of failing to secure the “benefit” of Brexit for UK
manufacturers.

Speaking in Birmingham, Corbyn said the falling pound could have
helped UK manufacturers, but said the government had instead
overseen the “farming out” of contracts oversea.

“Our exporters should be able to take proper advantage of the one
benefit to them that Brexit has already brought – a more
competitive pound,” Corbyn said.

“After the EU referendum result the pound became more competitive
and that should have helped our exporters.

“But they are being sold out by a lack of a Conservative
Government industrial plan which has left our economy far too
reliant on imports. ”

He accused May’s government of needlessly handing lucrative
contracts to overseas companies.

“Between 2014 and 2017, Network Rail awarded contracts worth tens
of millions of pounds to companies outside of the UK, while the
NHS awarded contracts worth over a billion,” he said.

“In the same period, the Ministry of Defence awarded contracts
elsewhere worth over £1.5 billion pounds, even though we are
under no obligation, under either European or international law,
to open up defence contracts to overseas bidders.”

Corbyn promised to use nationalisation to benefit UK workers.

“The next Labour government will bring contracts back in-house,
ending the racket of outsourcing that has turned our public
services into a cash cow for the few. And we will use the huge
weight of the Government’s purchasing power to support our
workers and industries.”

However, Labour’s opponents accused Corbyn of selling out
Britain’s poorest

 “Saying a drop in the pound is good for exporters is a bit
like saying a flood is excellent news for swimmers,” Liberal
Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake told Business Insider.

“A fall in sterling only benefits a few, not the many who will
suffer from a higher cost of living…The hit to our economy
caused by Brexit will make it more difficult to pay for public
services such as schools and hospitals, hitting the most
vulnerable the hardest.” 

Responding to the speech, Exchequer to the Treasury and
Conservative MP Robert Jenrick said: “This is laughable coming
from the Labour Party who oversaw millions of jobs lost and a
record decline in manufacturing.”

“We know from last time Labour don’t know how to handle the
economy and now their plan would mean higher prices for families
and lower wages for workers. The greatest risk to jobs and
investment is a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn and John
McDonnell.”


Jeremy Corbyn Michel Barnier
Jeremy Corbyn with Michel
Barnier

REUTERS/Olivier
Hoslet/Pool


Corbyn attacks May’s “customs chaos”

Corbyn also attacked the Conservatives’ “customs chaos”
maintaining that their handling of Brexit has “real and damaging
effects”. Corbyn quipped that May could not talk about how
wanting to take control of Britain’s border when she could not
“control her own Cabinet”.

The Labour leader also highlighted what he perceived to be a
regional inequality to the manufacturing decline, saying that
“for the last 40 years, a magical kind of thinking has dominated
the way Britain is run. We’ve been told that it’s good – advanced
even – for our country to manufacture less and less and instead
rely on cheap labour from abroad to produce imports, while we
focus on the City of London and the finance sector.”

Citing the UK solar industry, as an example of Britain’s
manufacturing decline, Corbyn said: “British solar firms were hit
by cuts to subsidies in 2015 and 2016 and changes to business
rates for buildings with rooftop panels. As a result, between now
and 2022, France is forecast to add five times as much solar
capacity as the UK; Germany ten times.”

“Labour will have a joined up plan to keep our industries, old
and new, humming with activity. It will help us build a clean,
green 21st century economy, right here in the UK: building solar,
wind farms and tidal lagoons to help us tackle climate change.”

Our Brexit Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and analysis about Britain’s departure from the EU, direct from Business Insider’s political reporters. Join here.

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