BRIDGET PHILLIPSON: Pandemic has exposed weaknesses in our economy

Over the last couple of weeks, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has begun to set out Labour’s vision for Britain’s economy.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 12:00 am

Put simply, we need to buy, make and sell more in Britain The pandemic exposed the weaknesses not just of this government, but of our economy as a whole after eleven Tory years.

First, we want to make more in Britain. Labour will make more in Britain by giving more public contracts to British companies, big and small. A Labour government would be setting stretching social, environmental and labour clauses in government contracts, so that the government spends and make more in Britain.

We’ll pass a law requiring public bodies to report on how much they are buying from British businesses. And we’d work with colleges and universities to make sure we’re honing the skills and apprenticeships we need for the jobs of the future.

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Second, our plans for Britain look forward not back. We need to bring the jobs of the future to Britain. The news that we are getting a new gigafactory producing batteries for electric cars made in our Nissan plant here in Sunderland is welcome, but it has to be the start not the end of the investment we need. To sustain car manufacturing here we need to shift to electric. It’s also important to move to making car batteries ourselves, here in Britain, so we can export cars made in the UK to buyers in Europe and elsewhere.

And thirdly the next Labour government will stand up for British businesses and workers in trade negotiations. We have left the EU now, but there must be no more excuses by the government for signing trade deals that don’t work for British businesses, British farmers, or for Britain’s fishing industry.

Labour would work with businesses and trade unions to build on the government’s trade deal with the EU, and stand up for British industries, jobs and standards. The government hasn’t even tried to fix the obvious problems with the shoddy deal they negotiated. Our view is that the deal is there to be built on, and the government must do so in the interests of the British people.

None of these policies are impossible. All of them are rooted in what businesses and trade unions tell Labour every week. We need to buy, make and sell more in Britain, to build the high-skilled, secure and prosperous economy that only Labour can deliver.