Friday, 3 Apr 2020

‘If I am Labour’s next PM, we’ll tear up the UK’s timid rulebook’ – Lisa Nandy

Politics is actually quite simple – the problem is politicians complicate it.

So let me be as clear as I can be.

The case for committing the next Labour government to putting UK manufacturing and domestic steel first, couldn’t be clearer.

It will create the decent jobs across the whole of the UK we desperately need.

It will revitalise our communities which have seen manufacturing jobs lost and communities destroyed.

It’s virtuous too – a thriving local economy contributes to an expanding UK economy.

The more vibrant our economy the more money we will have to invest.


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At the moment, too many of the advantages of placing orders in the UK are ignored, including the taxation returned to the Treasury that is lost when contracts go overseas.

If I am Labour's next PM we will tear up the UK's timid procurement rulebook, and we will buy British steel rebuilding our economy and public services while working within our international obligations.

This will take the commitment to deliver what you believe and doing what’s right for UK jobs and UK manufacturing.

What sort of message does it send about the value of our world-class steel industry when the Government only purchases half of its steel from UK steelmakers?

How is it that industrial energy prices for UK steelmakers are double that of their French counterparts, and 50% higher than in Germany?


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The absence of political and corporate leadership has forced hard-working steelworkers to compete with one hand behind their backs, for a generation.

Thousands of jobs have been lost – despite the best efforts of our unions, consecutive Tory governments have failed to find solutions and starved steel of investment for decades.

Take a look at an active government contract, the building of the three support ships to the Royal Navy worth up to £1.5 billion.

According to research, awarding the contract to build these ships in the UK would generate over 16,000 UK jobs – jobs in steel manufacturing, jobs in mechanical engineering, jobs in electronics, jobs in shipbuilding.

If I win the trust of the British people and become Prime Minister I will make sure that where we can build with British steel, we will.

What could be more obvious, what could be more logical, what could be better for the UK and the manufacturing sector than these ships being built with British steel?

Under my Government, they would be. By failing to have faith in our world-class industries, the Government are failing to be ambitious for our country.

It’s also vital that our steel industry has the information and the time to deliver.

For years now Conservative governments have been failing to share information about the big public projects that are coming on stream, and they then have no choice but to buy foreign steel because UK producers aren’t set up to make what is needed.

As PM I will demand that this dialogue happens, right across Whitehall. Many of the areas that made up my party’s so-called red wall were from a proud steel-making tradition.

Not even the incredible work of incumbent Labour MPs could hold back the tide.

For too long, too many in these small cities and towns felt disconnected from power and decision making.

The industry they relied on too often cast aside by politicians in Westminster as an industry of the past by those who simply don’t understand its foundational importance to our economy.

This is how Labour can start to win back trust; where for generations consecutive Tory Governments have failed to back our steel industry, we must be clear in our commitment to nurture British steel and help rebuild communities in the process.

I will not be passive in Government procurement – working within our international obligations, I will use the power of purchasing to support the high skilled, well-paid jobs of today and create the jobs of the future because together we can rebuild Britain by building in Britain.

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