Andy Burnham fact-checked over £680million Turkey railway claim

Andy Burnham has been slapped down in a Twitter row over a new high-speed electric railway in Turkey.

The Government announced it was underwriting a £680million loan on the condition that UK exporters supply the project.

But the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester said: “So we can’t afford to keep our own ticket offices open – but we can afford to build a new line in Turkey?”

Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake hit back: “Labour doesn’t even understand basic economics.

“This isn’t a grant, foreign aid or even a loan, UK Export Finance is providing a loan guarantee on the condition UK firms supply the Turkish railway. This money will be going back into the pockets of our exporters, helping firms across the UK.”

Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson added: “Well said, Kev. This will secure British jobs and put food on the tables of British families.

“I think the Labour Party would sooner their supporters stay on the dole at the expense of the hard-working taxpayer.”

Mr Burnham was also fact-checked by fellow Twitter users who added context to his post in fresh embarrassment for him.

The note added to the Labour politician’s tweet said: “The UK Government is not paying for a railway in Turkey.

“It is underwriting a loan by three banks which is reinsured by Italy and Austria.

“This is part of an export finance deal on the condition that UK exporters supply components, engineering, electronic infrastructure.”

The Government said the deal is expected to create multimillion-pound export contract opportunities for the UK’s infrastructure, engineering and project management sectors.

Exports Minister Lord Offord said: “The UK-Turkey trading relationship is going from strength to strength.

“Last year, UK exports to Turkey reached £8.5billion, and this week we announced plans for an updated trade deal that will further boost exports and imports between our countries.

“UK Export Finance’s backing for this transformative high-speed railway adds to this success story.

“This deal shows that the UK, home to the world’s first railway system, still moves full steam ahead with its export of railroad innovation and expertise.”

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