Jeremy Corbyn: “Labour is ready for talks about a sensible alternative plan, but not while Theresa May is wasting £171,000 an hour of taxpayers’ money on a dangerous and unnecessary no-deal brinkmanship”
Over the last two Budgets Philip Hammond has assigned £4.2 billion to support preparation in the event that the country leaves the EU without a deal. £1.5 billion of that is being spent this financial year alone.
That means £171,000 per hour is currently being spent on no-deal preparations. Despite the Chancellor saying “there is a large majority in the Commons that is opposed to no deal in any circumstances”, the Government has so far wasted £1.9 billion of money that could have been better spent helping our cash‑starved public services.
£1.9 billion is the equivalent to paying the annual salaries of over:
o 86,000 newly qualified nurses;
o 50,000 secondary school teachers; or
o 49,000 police constables
The Prime Minister still refuses to take no deal off the table, despite Labour’s repeated offers to support a sensible alternative plan that includes a permanent customs union, a strong single market relationship and guarantees on rights, standards and protections. While she has said she wants to find solutions that “command sufficient support in the House”:
The Chancellor has said “there is a significant majority in the House of Commons against no deal” and the Business secretary has said “there is a very clear majority in the house not to have no deal”.
Today, members of the Shadow Cabinet will be visiting Leave voting areas to discuss the dangers of a ‘no deal’ outcome for businesses and make the case for Labour’s alternative plan for a sensible Brexit.
Rebecca Long Bailey will be visiting a ceramic tiles manufacturer in Stoke-on-Trent, Barry Gardiner will be visiting Morley and Outwood, and Jonathan Ashworth will be meeting with pharmacists in Loughborough.
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said “We’re ready to talk to the government and others in parliament about a sensible alternative plan, but not while Theresa May is wasting £171,000 an hour of taxpayers’ money on dangerous and unnecessary no-deal brinkmanship.
“May’s ‘no deal’ threat is empty and hugely expensive, wasting billions of pounds we should be spending on vital public services. It’s a pointless and damaging attempt to appease a faction in her own party when she now needs to reach out to overcome this crisis.
“If the Prime Minister is serious about finding a solution that can command support in parliament and bring our country together, she must listen to the majority of MPs, as well as members of her own cabinet, and take ‘no deal’ off the table.”