Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell's take on the Conservatives' Budget

11 March 2020, 19:49 | Updated: 11 March 2020, 19:57

By Fiona Jones

This was Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell's take on today's Budget and how the Conservatives plan to combat coronavirus.

The Shadow Chancellor reflected on the Budget: "The issue for me now is: have we really won the argument with the Tories and are they willing now to invest? Are they willing to make sure we have investment not just in infrastructure but in public services?"

He said there is "no doubt" that Labour have pushed the Tories in the right direction but "remember it's after 10 years of austerity." He clarified that today the Budget did not "solve" austerity.

Even if the Conservatives bring forward £91 billion worth of investment infrastructure, for example, they are only filling about "half the hole they actually created. This is not revolutionary, let's not dance in the streets or anything like that."

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn listen to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Budget
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn listen to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Budget. Picture: PA

He continued that the implications of 10 years of austerity are being shown during the coronavirus: "If you do starve your public services of resources, when you need them, unfortunately they're depleted. In some instances like social care are actually in crisis already."

Iain countered that Rishi Sunak did say the NHS will get "whatever it needs" during the outbreak.

"When it comes to tackling the coronavirus, there's no party politics in this, there's no partisan issues, we'll work with the government on this," the Shadow Chancellor assured, and said Labour will try and work with the government to "complete gaps" in the Budget pledge.

This includes working on the level of support the statutory sick pay brings which is currently only £94 a week which "clearly does not support people."

However, he reiterated, while they will support the government on coronavirus, they will also will provide opposition to combat austerity - "you never know, we pushed them back on this a bit today we might be able to push them back a bit further."

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