Jeremy Corbyn has given his support for a full customs union moving forward with the European Union in a speech at Coventry University today.
Mr Corbyn’s commitment to this is the first time he has spoken about Labour’s Brexit stance since announcing their policy to stay inside the EU’s single market over a transitional period.
He said: “Labour would seek to negotiate a new comprehensive UK-EU customs union to ensure that there are no tariffs with Europe, and to help avoid any need for a hard border in Northern Ireland.”
Setting out the Labour Party’s vision for post-Brexit Britain, he stressed their commitment to workers’ rights.
“Our priority is to get the best deal for people’s jobs, living standards and the economy,” he said.
According to the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Labour Party sources suggest this would be a close reproduction of the current deal that promotes free trade.
‘Comprehensive’ – doing a lot of work here, Labour sources say this basically means a replica of the existing customs union – ‘Labour would seek to negotiate a new comprehensive UK-EU customs union’
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) February 26, 2018
This is part of Labour’s plan to transform and upgrade Britain’s economy via a decade long programme of renewal.
Part of this plan is to create a National Investment Bank with branches of regional development banks to help manage and distribute the proposed £500b National Transformation Fund into key industries such as transport networks, energy markets and digital infrastructure.
Mr Corbyn said this would ensure that “every area has an industrial strategy based on investment in a high skill, high wage, high productivity economy.”
There will be 12 regional banks set up, as stated in Labour’s National Investment Bank Plans report. These have yet to be named, but Labour want to invest in regions that currently only get one sixth of the investment in London.
According to a report by IPPR North, London receives £1,943 per person of investment in transport, whereas Yorkshire and Humber currently get £190 per head.
In the same way Labour hopes the regional investment scheme will help give more power to local authorities, Mr Corbyn also gave his support to the devolution of power in the UK to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, and backed the restoration of the Northern Irish Assembly.
Mr Corbyn stressed that there is no need for a hard Northern Irish border, encapsulating what he called Britain and the EU’s shared values of internationalism, equality and free trade.