Jeremy Corbyn has told a crowd, in Birmingham, that he would focus government contracts in the UK and would not send projects abroad.
Mr Corbyn said a future Labour government will back manufacturing, “because we want to see well-paid jobs in the industries of the future, fuel the tax revenues that fund our public services and the NHS and increase living standards for all.”
In his speech, Corbyn mentioned that a Labour government would ensure the state used “more of its own money to buy here in Britain”.
“The state spends over £200bn per year in the private sector,” he added.
“That spending power alone gives us levers to stimulate industry, to encourage business to act in people’s interests by encouraging genuine enterprise, fairness, cutting-edge investment, high-quality service and doing right by communities.
“But to ensure prosperity here we must be supporting our industries, making sure that where possible the government is backing our industries and not merely overseeing their decline.”
He gave examples of government contracts that have been handed to foreign bidders.
He said: “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.
“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 denied accusations that his policy was veering towards Trump’s Make American Great Again protectionism.
He dismissed this and replied: “Are we promoting economic nationalism? No, what we’re promoting is an investment in manufacturing in this country.
“Nobody’s ever said I have something in common with Donald Trump before. It’s news to both of us, I suspect.”
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