Theresa May told to set up emergency $13.8 billion fund to pay for jobs lost in a no-deal Brexit

TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty ImagesBrexit Secretary Stephen Barclay.
  • Theresa May urged to set up an emergency fund for people made jobless by a no-deal Brexit.
  • The Liberal Democrats have told the UK government to set aside £7.5 billion ($AU13.8 billion) to help get an estimated 750,000 people back into employment if the country leaves the European Union without a deal.
  • Three MPs quit May’s Conservatives this week, accusing her of leading the UK to a “cliff edge” no-deal.
  • There are 36 days until Brexit.

LONDON – The UK government is being urged to set up an “emergency fund” to support Brits who could lose their jobs if the country leaves the European Union without a divorce deal next month.

The Liberal Democrats on Thursday called for ministers to set aside a £7.5 billion ($AU13.8 billion) “No-Deal Support Fund” to use as financial support for the hundreds of thousands of people who they say would lose their jobs in a no-deal Brexit.

The anti-Brexit party said the money would provide grants worth £10,000 to each of the estimated 750,000 people who would become jobless in a no-deal scenario, citing “conservative” UK Trade Policy Observatory predictions.

This would pay for jobless Brits to be retrained and if necessary relocated in order to get them back into work. Several European countries created similar funds in response to the global financial crisis a decade ago.

“The Conservatives have made a terrible mess out of Brexit,” Lib Dem Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake told Business Insider.

“If they do push the country into a damaging no deal Brexit, in a vain attempt to keep the Tory party together, it will be their responsibility to protect the hundreds of thousands of people who will be affected.”

Theresa May is under growing pressure to rule out leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement amid a series of announcements by major companies on plans to reduce their operations in the UK.

Cabinet ministers Amber Rudd, Greg Clark, David Gauke, and David Mundell reportedly urged the prime minister to publicly commit to delaying Brexit in order to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal next month.

A government spokesperson told BI: “It remains our priority to deliver a deal that will protect UK jobs and prosperity and provide certainty for businesses as we leave the EU.

“The Government is accelerating no deal preparations to ensure the country is ready for every eventuality, and as part of this we have launched a business readiness website to complement the 106 technical notices we published last year.”

On Wednesday three MPs quit the Conservative party in protest against the prime minister’s “disastrous” handling of Brexit and accused her of “recklessly marching the country towards the cliff edge of no deal.”

Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston quit the Tories to join the newly-formed Independent Group.

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