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Labour government would redirect spending to UK firms, Corbyn promises

The Labour leader said he would ‘reprogramme’ the economy towards manufacturing after decades of governments favouring financial services.

A Labour government would change state procurement practices to give a bigger share of contracts to companies in Britain, Jeremy Corbyn has promised.

In a speech to the EEF manufacturers’ organisation in Birmingham, the Labour leader attacked the Government for allowing billions of pounds worth of work on passports, military ships and health supplies to go overseas.

And he promised that Labour would use state aid powers “to the full” to support Britain’s manufacturing sector following Brexit.

Mr Corbyn also called on Theresa May to change tack and negotiate with the EU to ensure that Britain remains in “a brand new customs union” after Brexit in March.

He argued that otherwise Britain will be left in a “nightmare of our public services sold to multinational companies and our country in hock to Donald Trump while we all eat chlorinated chicken”.

A new customs union would provide “the same benefits” of current EU arrangements while allowing exporters to “take proper advantage of the one benefit to them that Brexit has already brought – a more competitive pound”.

As part of a three-pronged strategy to support jobs and industry, Mr Corbyn said that Labour would give British firms a greater proportion of the state’s annual £200 billion spending in the private sector, as well as bringing outsourced contracts back in-house and investing in infrastructure and skills.

“Labour is determined to see public contracts provide public benefit using our money to nurture and grow our industries and to expand our tax base,” he said.

“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.”

Mr Corbyn said it was time for a “reprogramme” of Britain’s economy after decades in which successive governments have favoured financial services over manufacturing.

“Our new economic approach is necessary because for the last 40 years a kind of magical thinking has dominated the way Britain is run.

“We’ve been told that it’s good, even advanced, for our country to manufacture less and less and to rely instead on cheap labour abroad to produce imports while we focus on the City of London and the financial sector.

“While many economics professionals, politicians and City types insisted this was all a strength, the banking crash confirmed it was in fact a profound weakness.

“A lack of support for manufacturing is sucking the dynamism out of our economy, pay from the pockets of our workers and any hope of secure, well-paid jobs from a generation of our young people.

“That is why Labour is committed to turning things around.

“It must be our job in government to reprogramme our economy so that it stops working for the few and begins working for the many.

“That is why we will build things here again that for too long have been built abroad because we have failed to invest.”

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