A LABOUR government would take on the financial sector and make it a “servant of industry,” rather than allow it to continue being the “masters of us all,” Jeremy Corbyn vowed today.
In a speech to manufacturers’ organisation the EEF, the Labour leader warned that Britain’s “distorted, sluggish and unequal” economy cannot be fixed without challenging the power of the financial sector.
He said his administration would be the first in 40 years to “stand up for the real economy,” acknowledging that Labour had failed to do so in the 13 years it wielded power under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Mr Corbyn attacked a generation of politicians who believed that the City could drive the whole economy and allowed it to exert “pernicious and undemocratic” control over British politics.
“Out-of-control financial wizardry and gambling were left barely regulated, while the real economies in once-strong industrial areas were put into managed decline,” he said.
“The welfare state was left to pick up the slack with sticking plaster redistribution to the people and places held back by the finance-led boom of predominantly the south-east of England.”
Mr Corbyn also promised to strengthen government powers to intervene in hostile takeovers, citing asset-stripper the ongoing £7 billion attempt by Melrose Industries to take over British engineering firm GKN by as a case in point.
The Labour leader has ramped up pressure on the government to block the takeover, warning that “a valuable company could be sacrificed so a few can make a quick buck.”
He pledged that the next Labour government would take “advantage of new freedoms outside of the EU” to intervene and block hostile takeovers that “destroy our industrial base.”
Mr Corbyn went on to call for a “fundamental rethink” of who the financial sector serves and how it is regulated.
“For a generation, instead of finance serving industry, politicians have served finance,” he said.
“No more. The next Labour government will be the first in 40 years to stand up for the real economy. We will take decisive action to make finance the servant of industry, not the masters of us all.”
In response, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Robert Jenrick claimed that Labour would “harm Britain’s businesses,” meaning that there would be “fewer good jobs for people as a result.”
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