Labour announce plans to end austerity and nationalise key utilities

9 December 2019, 11:32

Labour's John McDonnell made the announcement in Vauxhall
Labour's John McDonnell made the announcement in Vauxhall. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Labour will end austerity and start to nationalise key utilities within their first 100 days of taking office if they are returned as the majority party in the upcoming election.

The party's Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell has set out plans for the party to end Conservative austerity and launch a "green revolution," ploughing money back into communities.

Mr McDonnell said the first priority for the Treasury under Labour will be ending the Conservatives’ programme of cuts to public spending and social security.

Under the party's plans, key public services would be brought into public ownership, pledging water and energy would be among the first utilities to be be made public.

The party also announced they would "bring down fares and bills."

He also announced plans to move money away from Whitehall and the City by launching a "National Transformation Unit," which the party would seek to set up before Christmas.

Other plans would involve establishing a National Investment Bank, alongside regional developments banks and a postal bank.

The party says these As part of Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution, these new institutions will deliver finance from the City to the high street, investing in communities ignored and held down for decades.

On Brexit Mr McDonnell have said the party would kick-off negotiations with the European Union to secure a "good deal for working people," as well as launching plans for a second referendum in order to put the issue of the UK's exit from the EU back to the public.

He said: "Despite all his promises it is clear to all now that far from getting Brexit done, under Johnson Brexit won’t be done for years or we risk a catastrophic no deal."

The Shadow Chancellor said in "too many parts of the country, we have been wasting people’s potential."

Blaming successive governments, Mr McDonnell said previous administrations had sat back and left the "fate of whole communities at the mercy of market forces."

Mr McDonnell said scale of the challenge is greater than everr
Mr McDonnell said scale of the challenge is greater than everr. Picture: PA

He said: “Good jobs and whole industries that were once the pride of our country have been lost and replaced with dreary, exploitative, insecure and low paid jobs. Or in some cases no jobs at all.

“No wonder people feel disillusioned in politicians.

“As our manifesto makes clear, turning these two things around will be our number one priority in government.

“Our Green Industrial Revolution will deliver the changes we need to avert climate catastrophe. And it will put British industry back on the map, bringing prosperity to every part of our country.

“It will give every community something to be proud of.

“The pride that comes with an honest day’s work, yes, but also more than that: the pride of being on the right side in this crucial moment of human history. The pride, quite literally, of helping to save the planet.”

Labour's second priority on taking charge will be to put "key parts of the economy in the hands of their workers and the people who use them."

Announcing his party's plans to kick start public ownership, Mr McDonnell said: “When Labour puts money in your pockets, we will also put power back in your hands.

"Since we first put public ownership back on the political agenda, we’ve been talking about our plans more, and consulting on them with experts, trade unions and industry. And we are ready to go.

"In our first hundred days we will start the process of bringing water and energy into public ownership. We’ll set up boards to run these utilities made up of who, the customer, and you, the worker, as well as representatives from local councils, metro mayors and others.

"We’ll make sure decisions are taken locally by those who understand the services – those who use them and deliver them."

Mr McDonnell also announced plans to bring more accountability to public meetings saying they will be public and streamed online, "with new transparency regulations set higher than ever before, so you can see if your road is being dug up, why, and for how long."

He also announced the creation of People’s Assemblies "to give everyone the option of participating in how their utilities are run."

Announcing the date of a Labour budget Mr McDonnell said on February the 5th he would lay out his plans to introduce "a Real Living Wage of £10 an hour. Money to fix the worst aspects of Universal Credit, while we design its replacement, a 5% pay rise for public sector workers after years of pay freezes. The Waspi compensation scheme will be established and legislation brought forward to scrap tuition fees."