McDonnell to outline Labour Budget plans to “end austerity”
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell is set to deliver a speech outlining plans for a Budget which will “end austerity” and lay out the priorities for the first 100 days of a Labour government.
McDonnell will also announce plans for wealth to begin “moving out of Whitehall and the City”, along with the measures of “democratic control” that a Labour government would have over nationalised water and energy firms.
Other Labour plans for a shake-up in public services include nationalising train companies, Royal Mail and BT Openreach along with the water and energy industries.
McDonnell is expected to say: "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 them made up of you, 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. Meetings 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. And we'll create new People's Assemblies to hold these boards to account and give everyone the option of participating in how their utilities are run.”
Other issues McDonnell will cover are the party’s plans for investment in the new green economy, as well as how localised regeneration will take place. He will discuss the National Transformation Fund Unit which will help deliver these changes in more detail, and outline Labour's plans for the establishment of a National Investment Bank, a Post Bank and other regional banks to support development in local areas.
The National Investment Bank proposed by the party would have resources of £250 billion to lend out to small businesses working on projects paramount to the government’s wider industrial strategy.
However, the Conservatives have criticised Labour’s spending plans, saying that they will culminate in an economic crisis should they be elected.
McDonnell has already been forced to defend Labour’s tax policy, after founder of telecoms company Phones4u, John Caudwell, told the BBC that the party’s targeting of billionaires was “destroying confidence”.
Saying that Labour’s tax plans had been “exaggerated” by the media, McDonnell added that he believed that the wealthy have a moral responsibility to address the lack of equality in the UK.
Labour’s tax policy includes increasing tax on the top five per cent of earners, namely individuals earning £80,000 or more per annum, although party leader Jeremy Corbyn has conceded that some on lower incomes may end up paying more tax to accommodate the plans. They have also promised to increase corporation tax.
Conservative tax plans include increasing the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 in their first Budget, as well as freezing the rate of National Insurance contributions, income tax rates and VAT.