NATIONALISING parts of the steel industry would help keep people in jobs Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said.
The means are at hand to protect production in the UK, the left-winger leader told a meeting of Labour supporters this evening, and that the British Government should take note from Italy’s public stake in steel.
He said the Prime Minister and Chancellor need to act as decisvely on steel as the Government did in 2008, when Labour part-nationalised RBS and Lloyds to prevent economic collapse.
So far this Autumn SSI in Teesside has closed with 1700 jobs lost and 900 are planned to be axed at the Tata plant in Scunthorpe.
Mr Corbyn, who was speaking at the Labour Party’s East of England conference in Stevenage, said: “For all their talk of defending the country, Cameron’s Conservatives won’t even take action to defend our steel industry when the means are at hand.
“A job in Scunthorpe is as good as a job in the City of London, but Cameron’s government is sitting on its hands while what’s left of our manufacturing base is bled white by import dumping and its own inaction.
“We need Cameron and Osborne to act as decisively in 2015 as Gordon Brown did in 2008, when Labour part-nationalised RBS and Lloyds to prevent economic collapse.
“If the Italian government can take a public stake to maintain their steel industry, so can we. That’s why Labour will be pressing Cameron to use the powers we have to intervene and, if necessary, take a strategic stake in steel - to save jobs and restructure the industry.”
He said his leadership was based on ‘three pillars of new politics’, a new economy and a different kind of foreign policy.
A national investment bank is the ‘motor of economic modernisation for the 21st century’ he said, and was critical of George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse which he said was a presentationn of ‘soundbites’ and ‘platform speeches’.
Mr Corbyn’s ‘real economic renaissance of the north’ involves investment in infrastructure, transport, housing and technology.
Speaking just hours before a string of bloody attacks were carried out in Paris, Mr Corbyn said Britain’s foreign policy over the last 14 years had brought Britain to the epi-centre of disastrous wars, increasing our country’s national security threats.
He said now is the time for a ‘different kind of foreign policy’ which is based on a ‘new and more independent relationship with the rest of the world’.