Barnsley has a proud heritage of being an industrial town from our mining and glass blowing heritage to our long-established markets. We’ve been a key part of Britain’s growth over the past 150 years and we have the perfect opportunity to be a key part of its future.
Even today, the phrase ‘Made in Britain’ has often been associated with a level of quality unmatched around the globe and as we emerge from the Covid crisis, we have the perfect opportunity to continue and reimagine our heritage.
We must commit in the coming years to making sure that British businesses are given the potential to expand in the UK and around the world, and that public money is used to invest in British manufacturing to help revive our local economies in towns like Barnsley.
Covid-19 has forever changed our communities. Our highstreets have already lost some of the giants like Topshop and WH Smiths but we could also lose smaller independent businesses as no one will emerge from this crisis unaffected.
I’ve spoken previously about the challenge ahead of us. This recovery will be hard, but it’s nothing that we cannot handle. It’s so important that wherever we can we support our regional industry and businesses giving a much-needed boost to our local economies. Something the Tories have failed to do in over a decade of power.
Labour wants to change this. We’ve been urging the government to adopt a new approach that would ensure that the government leads by example and buys British when it can and where it can when it comes to rewarding large scale public contracts.
The Tories have failed to use British Steel for crucial infrastructure and failed to guarantee British firms an opportunity to work on key defence contracts. Whatever the project, this government has consistently let down British industry and opted to take the cheaper approach, often looking abroad.
Labour’s buy British approach is different, we want to prioritise British jobs and keep investment in our local communities. This is the best way to ensure communities like Barnsley are world leading manufacturing hubs where our local businesses thrive, and our highstreets prosper. This has already been clearly shown by the recent commitment of our council to our high streets through the Principal Town’s fund. A £5m pot of money that is solely for the improvement of our local highstreets.
Keeping the manufacturing process as local as possible also ensures that producers have control over every aspect of production. This local investment will also encourage people to buy British having the effect of helping our local economies prosper post pandemic.
It’s time for a new approach. So as our country looks to recover and rebuild from Covid let’s back our manufacturers and our local economies by buying British and help bring the real levelling up that our communities so desperately need.