John McDonnell says Labour will "irreversibly shift" wealth towards working people

7 November 2019, 17:33

John McDonnell has been speaking at a Labour event in Liverpool
John McDonnell has been speaking at a Labour event in Liverpool. Picture: LBC News

By Maddie Goodfellow

The Shadow Chancellor has announced a £150 billion "social transformation fund" to be spent over the next five years.

John McDonnell said the funds would be used to "replace, upgrade and expand our schools, our hospitals, care homes and yes, council homes once again under a Labour government.

"It's to deal with the human emergency which has been created by the Tories over the last nine years, alongside the climate emergency."

However, speaking in Manchester on Thursday, Tory Chancellor Sajid Javid said the biggest fear for business is a "Corbyn led government".

He has also used a speech in Liverpool to pledge that the Labour Party will "repair the social fabric that the Tories have torn apart".

Mr McDonnell said: "To achieve that objective it also requires therefore an irreversible shift in the centre of gravity in political decision making as well as investment in this country from its location solely in London to be relocated to the North and regions and nations of our country."

He furthered this by confirming how Labour plans to shift “a powerful section of the Treasury” to the north of England.

Speaking to LBC News at the event in Liverpool, Mr McDonnell, who is from Liverpool, said: "When I come home and I meet with community leaders, they're all telling me the same thing.

"It's blindingly obvious the lack of investment in the north over this last decade has meant that basically our infrastructure is falling apart."

He continued: "If we don't start investing, one of two things will happen.

"Our social infrastructure, whether it's housing, transport, schools or hospitals, will deteriorate even further.

"Secondly, if we stand any chance of tackling climate change, we've got to have massive investment in terms of alternative energy sources."

Mr McDonnell also touched on Labour's environmental prospects for the north of England.

He said: "We need massive investment in terms of insulating our homes and with solar panels on roofs.

"This will be the north leading the climate change programme.

"We want to make our contribution to saving the planet. If we don't, our children and grandchildren will never forgive us."

Opening his speech in Liverpool, John McDonnell said: "The Tories are always the same. In the 80s it was dole queues and sky-high inflation. Now it's zero hours contracts, Universal Credit and queues outside food banks.

"And if they win again, if they win again, it'll just be more of the same. They're planning to slash inheritance tax and taxes for the richest, despite, I just give the example of an ever-deepening crisis in our care homes and a crumbling public transport system.

"And there will be a hard right Tory Brexit smashing a hole in our public finances."

He added: "Well whatever they say, there is an alternative, a chance to change things dramatically and permanently for the better."

John McDonnell has put forward Labour's economic policy
John McDonnell has put forward Labour's economic policy. Picture: PA

Mr McDonnell also confirmed, under Labour's plans, there would be a National Transformation Fund unit of the Treasury.

He said: "I can confirm that this powerful section of the Treasury Unit will be based here in the North... At the same time my Treasury ministerial meetings will no longer be solely in London.

"Labour's Treasury ministers will meet outside of London and will have a ministerial office in the North. The centre of gravity, of political gravity, is shifting away from London. It's coming back home to the North."

On reforms to the finance sector, Mr McDonnell said the "days of the City dictating terms to the rest of the country are over".

He told Merseyside supporters: "It won't just be public investment, of course.

"We can't do it if the private finance sector isn't pulling its weight too. So the days of the City dictating terms to the rest of the country are over.

He continued: "The finance sector will be brought in line with the rest of us in addressing the (climate) emergency, with an end to short-termist thinking.

"The thinking that only prices in risks associated with an investment here and now.

"Rather than the potential for a dramatic change in the price of carbon investments, leading to significant stranded assets."

John McDonnell said the public faced a "historic" choice at this election.

Mr McDonnell said that after "nearly a decade of harsh, brutal and unnecessary austerity cuts on our community" voters would not be taken for "fools" at the "sudden gushing with election stunt offers of spending more".

"Judge them on their record and their actions, not on their election gimmick false promises," he said.

Chancellor Sajid Javid has criticised Labour's economic policy
Chancellor Sajid Javid has criticised Labour's economic policy. Picture: PA

However, the Conservative party have accused Labour of using “fantasy economics” would wreck the economy.

In his speech in Manchester on Thursday, Sajid Javid said that the current Brexit deal "is good for democracy, and it’s good for the economy.

"A strong economy ultimately depends on a strong democracy.

"Getting this deal through will give business the confidence that it needs and certainty that it needs to plan and invest for the future."

Mr Javid also announced that under Conservative economic policy, new fiscal rules would allow an extra £22bn of public sector net investment a year, for what the chancellor called “a new economic plan for a new economic era”, with money targeted at infrastructure projects such as roads and railways.

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to spend £2.2 billion a year on mental health services, funded by a 1% rise to income tax.