Boris Johnson pledges shake-up of state aid rules to protect troubled British firms after Brexit

Posted On: 
29th November 2019

Boris Johnson has pledged a shake-up of state aid rules in a bid to protect troubled British firms after Brexit.

Boris Johnson unveiled his plans alongside former Vote Leave chiefs Michael Gove and Gisella Stuart
Credit: 
PA

The Prime Minister said the move would make it "faster and easier" for ministers to intervene and protect jobs in struggling UK-based firms.

Under EU rules the Government is prohibited from providing financial help to uncompetitive British industries.

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Unveiling his 'Brexit roadmap' alongside former Vote Leave chiefs Michael Gove and ex-Labour MP Gisela Stuart, Mr Johnson said: "Today we are setting out specific ways in which we will change EU law so we can enjoy the benefits of Brexit without delay.

"We'll back British businesses, by ensuring the public sector buys British... and we'll back British industry by making sure we can intervene when great British businesses are struggling."

He added: "When I look at what the [state aid] rules have meant for UK companies... there are ways in which we will be able to do things differently.

"The ramifications of EU state aid rules are felt everywhere."

The move will be seen as an attempt to reassure Labour voters who backed Leave in 2016 that Brexit will not usher in a wave of deregulation.

 Mr Johnson also pledged to return his Brexit deal to the Commons before Christmas, and said he would take the UK out of the EU "no ifs and no buts" by 31 January if he wins a majority.

"If we are returned with a majority government we will leave the EU on 31 January and get immediately back to work on unleashing the benefits of Brexit," he said.

"People voted to take back control - and we want to deliver that change. One of the crucial ways we will do that is by improving our rules so that we can back British businesses and unleash their true potential."

He added: "The alternative would be a return to the broken parliament that has kept the country in gridlock for three years headed up with a Corbyn-Sturgeon coalition of chaos that would force the country into another two divisive referendums in 2020.

"The only way to secure change at this election is to vote for a Conservative majority government to get Brexit done."

Meanwhile, the PM promised to end free movement at the end of the 11-month transition period, saying his plans for a new points-based immigration system would be in place by January 2021.

He said the scheme would remove a "downward pressure" on wages by reducing the number of unskilled immigrants coming in to the country