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Starmer accuses Boris Johnson of doing ‘nothing’ for steel workers

today21/04/2021

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Sir Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of doing “nothing to help steel workers” while giving “tax breaks to mates” in the latest development of the lobbying scandal engulfing the government.

The Labour leader criticised Mr Johnson for recent revelations that he had promised to “fix” the tax status of Dyson workers wishing to help build ventilators at the start of the coronavirus pandemic – while “doing nothing” to help steel workers who face losing their jobs.

Dyson entrepreneur James Dyson personally texted the Prime Minister asking for reassurance that none of his employees would have to pay additional tax if they came to the UK to help with the ventilator effort.

In texts released by the BBC, Johnson replied: “I will fix it.”

Sir Keir accused the Prime Minister of giving Mr Dyson “preferential treatment” while failing to “fix” the problems at Liberty Steel, whose main lender Greensilll Capital collapsed last month, plunging thousands of jobs into jeopardy.

To get the latest email updates from YorkshireLive, click here .

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has found himself at the heart of the ongoing lobbying scandal after it emerged he pressed the government for support for Greensill Capital, where he was employed an adviser.

“It’s his former leader, his friend I think – Dave – who’s at the heart of much of this,” the Labour leader told MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions.

“At the heart of this scandal are people’s jobs and wasted taxpayers’ money.

“Take for example the thousands of jobs at Liberty Steel that are on the line, in Hartlepool, in Rotherham and elsewhere following the collapse of Greensill Capital.

“The Prime Minister hasn’t fixed that. In fact he’s done nothing to help steel workers.”

He added: “Is it now quite literally one rule for those who’ve got the Prime Minister’s phone number, another for everybody else?”

Mr Johnson hit back at Sir Keir’s criticisms of his texts to Mr Dyson, saying: “He calls it a scandal, he voted for the changes that we brought in.

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“He called out ventilator challenge an outstanding success and I think he was completely right.”

The Prime Minister added: “Of course I am concerned for the families of steel workers up and down the country, that’s why the business secretary has been meeting with the unions and the management of Liberty Steel repeatedly over the past few days.

He added: “We believe in British steel… we intend to use our new freedoms under Brexit to make sure that procurement goes to British companies.”

But the Labour leader implored Mr Johnson to “do something”.

“I have to say to the Prime Minister, steelworkers waking up this morning will find it deeply offensive to hear the Prime Minister boasting to his friends that he’s the First Lord of the Treasury, and ‘We can give you the backing we need’,” he said.

“He won’t give the steel workers the backing that they need.

“This shows once again the favours, privileged access, tax breaks for mates – they are the main currency of this Conservative government.”

Written by: Rother Radio News


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today21/04/2021


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