Today I’ve been in sunny Southend, talking to lots of members of the business community, from multiple sectors, and companies large and small. It’s clear that with costs spiralling, many businesses, as well as households, need extra support, and I called upon the Government to deliver that in next week’s Spring Statement. You can watch my video from Southend here.
Meanwhile, steel is integral to a modern economy, but the industry has been particularly badly hit by escalating energy costs. Under Labour’s plans, UK steel will go from strength to strength. This Government sadly seems not to have a plan for the sector. This week it was great to join members of Community Union to make that case, and the Prime Minister needs to listen. You can watch my video with the steel workers here.
As I wrote about in my last newsletter, a lot of work from across the House went into the Economic Crime Bill last week (returning into the early hours on Monday night). Labour pushed for action against Putin’s cronies in days not months so that oligarchs don’t get a head start to sell their ill-gotten gains and escape sanctions. This fight then moved to the Lords. The Bill is a step in the right direction but is still just a fraction of what is needed to stop illicit Russian money in the UK, and to tackle fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. I am pleased Ministers have given an undertaking of a further Economic Crime Bill ASAP. The Govt must act to urgently reform Companies House and properly resource enforcement agencies. This isn’t just about Russia -important as that is- it’s about how our economy and runs and the strong, fair and transparent regulation that should govern it. The UK must no longer be a destination of choice for illicit finance.
Also this week, I am of course aghast at the treatment of P&O workers unscrupulously facing the sack this week in favour of an international workforce. This is wholly unacceptable behaviour and a crystal clear example of why we need tougher legislation on fire and rehire.