- Labour leader sees Brexit as an opportunity to allow discrimination in favour of UK companies.
- EU members are currently barred from discriminating against foreign firms.
- Corbyn proposes strict new rules for government contracts.
- Private firms would be forced to observe rules on union recognition and environmental standards.
LONDON — Jeremy Corbyn believes Brexit will allow a future Labour government to give preference to British companies seeking government contracts.
Speaking in Doncaster, Yorkshire this morning, the Labour leader will say that a government under his leadership would use new powers repatriated from Brussels to ensure British companies get preferential treatment.
Under current EU non-discrimination rules, member states are disallowed from discriminating against companies from the rest of the EU.
Corbyn will spell out his aim to “repatriate” these powers back from Brussels after Brexit in order to allow the government to give preference to local firms.
“While Brexit presents many challenges to Britain, it can give us more powers to encourage best practices and support new and existing businesses and industries in Britain,” he will say.
“While the Conservatives seem intent on using Brexit to turn us into a low-wage tax haven, Labour will use every power possible to upgrade our economy so we can all lead richer lives.”
Corbyn will also spell out plans to place new restrictions on the pay and business activities of firms seeking public sector contracts.
Companies would eventually face a new requirement for the highest paid member of the company to only be paid twenty times the amount of the lowest paid, suggesting that a CEO could only earn around £380,000 a year if the lowest paid worker is a cleaner on £10 an hour.
Under Corbyn’s proposed new rules companies would need to demonstrate that they:
- Give full trade union recognition for their workforce and comply with collective bargaining agreements
- Move towards a ratio of 20-1 between the lowest and highest paid, matching the target in the public sector, over a transitional period
- Pay their suppliers the full amount owed within 30 days
- Maintain high environmental standards in relation to energy use, emissions and waste disposal, while taking appropriate measures to aid the transition to a low carbon economy
- Provide training and apprenticeship opportunities proportionate to firm size
- Full tax compliance
- Adopt best practices in equal opportunities
“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,” Corbyn will say.
“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.”
“National and local government spends £200 billion per year in the private sector. That’s an incredible purchasing power, which we can use to support the good companies and improve the behaviour of the bad ones that undercut with unfair practices.”
“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.”
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