Labour pledges to re-direct £200bn of public funds to ‘good’ companies

13 Apr 17

Labour would use £200bn of public funds currently invested each year in the private sector to “upgrade” the British economy, leader Jeremy Corbyn said today.

Corbyn said a Labour government under him would re-direct the cash - from central and local government spending - towards funding “good” companies, which offer high quality jobs and reduce inequality.

Companies given government contracts would be required to use best practice on matters such as tax, workers’ rights, equal opportunities, environmental protection, training and apprenticeships and paying suppliers on time, he said in a speech at the Wabtec train maintenance company.

A Labour government would also require boardrooms it backed to adopt a 20-1 limit on the gap between the lowest and highest paid.

Corbyn said: “For years we’ve been told that there’s nothing that can stop the race to the bottom in the jobs market that is making people’s lives harder and holding back our economy. 

“Well, today I say, Britain doesn’t have to be so meek, and settle for things getting worse and more insecure for so many.

"We can make the change we need if we understand the power we already have - and how we can better use it.”

According to the Labour leader the “incredible purchasing power” of £200bn per year should be used to “improve the behaviour” of the bad companies that undercut with unfair practices.

He said: “Under the next Labour government, Britain will subsidise bad corporate behaviour no longer. Our business partners should have the same values we as a country hold: enterprise, fairness, high-quality service and doing right by everyone.”

Corbyn also said Brexit offered an opportunity to encourage firms to act in a way which benefited workers, helped the economy “so we can all lead richer lives".

Under current EU non-discrimination rules, member states are barred from discriminating against companies from the rest of the EU – after Brexit Labour says British companies could be prioritised when lucrative government contracts are tendered.

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