Labour vows to put British firms first in rail manufacturing

Posted On: 
30th July 2018

Labour has pledged to end the "disastrous" exporting of rail manufacturing jobs overseas by introducing "a default position" in favour of British firms.

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Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald will use a visit to Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education to promise "a British rail network that works for the many, not the few", and tear into the Government's record on the sector.

According to official figures, Network Rail has handed out rail contracts worth at least £106 million to foreign companies since 2014.

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Meanwhile, the number of people employed in train manufacturing in the UK has fallen by 12.5% since 2011.

Mr McDonald said: "Over the decades that the Tories have savaged our industrial heritage, rail manufacturing has declined, major public contracts have gone overseas, and the skills the sector needs have received unforgivably poor support.

"We will rebuild our rail industry, to develop the hi-tech skills of young people and all workers, to promote 21st Century manufacturing, and to defend jobs and the communities that depend on them."

The party says it will shake-up public sector buying rules to bring in "a default position of facilitating British procurement, including steel, whenever possible".

It is also pledging to ensure that any new rolling stock is publicly owned, and has vowed to directly support British rail companies using a National Investment Bank.

The frontbencher added: "The next Labour government is going to throw its weight behind British rail manufacturing, and build a British rail network that works for the many, not the few."

Jeremy Corbyn last week launched Labour's new 'Build it in Britain' campaign, promising to use state powers "to the full" after the UK leaves the European Union in order to support Britain’s manufacturing sector.

"We want to make sure the government uses more of its money to buy in Britain," he said.