Unite: Brexit Budget lacks vision and investment needed for success outside EU

Unite blasted Philip Hammond’s Budget response to Brexit today (November 22), saying it lacks the comprehensive investment and vision needed to successfully navigate Britain’s future outside of the EU.

Hammond announced an extra £3bn over the next two years for Brexit preparations, as well as cash for “piecemeal” initiatives on the technology, infrastructure and industry that will provide post-Brexit jobs.

The Budget included £20bn for knowledge intensive industries, £2.3bn for research and development, £500m for artificial intelligence and £400m for electric car charging infrastructure.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said, “On the biggest issue of our age, Brexit, the businesses upon whom millions depend for work are no clearer today on the government’s plans to steer us through our EU exit than they were this time yesterday.

“The comprehensive package of investment in skills and infrastructure we urgently need was missing. What was offered instead by the chancellor was piecemeal initiatives. It leaves next week’s industrial strategy announcement with the task of demonstrating that the government does actually have a coherent plan to invest in industry and infrastructure to create decent jobs.”

McCluskey described the £400m allocated for electric vehicles as “minimal progress” and not “the great leap forward that Unite has been calling for”.

He said: “The UK will continue to lag well behind competitor countries like Germany, Norway and China in this important new technology unless the government acts with greater urgency with bigger investment and good joined up policies, such as giving cab drivers grants to go electric, as they are doing in London.”