The City of London financial district is seen with office skyscrapers commonly known as Cheesegrater, Gherkin and Walkie Talkie seen in London, Britain, January 25, 2018. (Reuters photo)
The British government has been sharply criticized by Labour over its failure to help businesses "reshore" jobs from overseas.
In 2014, David Cameron, the then prime minister, launched Reshore UK as a "one-stop shop" for companies in the hope that business activities would be shifted back to the United Kingdom.
Cameron said it would offer "dedicated support for businesses that want to capitalize on the opportunities of reshoring, creating new jobs and ensuring that hard-working people can reap the benefits of globalization".
Matt Hancock, business minister at the time, also said the following year that it was predicted to create over 6,500 jobs.
The scheme was, however, quietly shelved and research conducted by the House of Commons Library found it no longer exists.
The Department for Business has so far provided no date or rationale for its closure, according to The Independent.
Labours shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said there was considerable evidence that shows UK companies are interested in reshoring.
Citing recent surveys, Reeves said between 20 and 37 percent of firms are contemplating changes to their supply chains to reshore overseas activities to Britain.
However, the Commons Library research into reshoring found that "in short, there does not seem to be any specific targeted government funding for reshoring, or schemes specifically designed to facilitate it".
In June 2020, international trade secretary Liz Truss told a Commons committee the governments Project Defend strategy to strengthen supply chains amid the Covid pandemic did not have onshoring among its main objectives.
"It is not onshoring all our industry because that makes you less resilient, as you are subject to a shock on the UK," said Truss last year. "The way we make ourselves more resilient is by having more trade with a greater diversity of trade partners, so we are not dependent solely on some countries for imports and we are not dependent on certain markets for exports."
Ministers, however, must "grab hold of opportunities" to bring jobs back to Britain as part of Labours plan to purchase, make and sell more in the UK, Reeves told The Independent.
"When the government could be creating quality jobs of the future here in Britain, they simply shrug their shoulders and go overseas to invest in lower worker and environmental standards instead," said the shadow chancellor.
"When I speak to our brilliant British businesses, I know how much theyve done during through the pandemic - and how crucial helping them thrive is for our economic recovery.
"A Labour government would get behind British businesses to help them meet their reshoring ambitions through our plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain."
Meanwhile, a government spokesperson cited Prime Minister Boris Johnsons plans for jobs and growth as an example of how ministers are trying to support and create jobs in the UK.
"The whole of the government is focused on protecting and creating jobs across the country, including by strengthening supply chains and onshoring manufacturing to the UK," said the spokesperson.