Earlier today at the Labour Party conference Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell gave his speech setting out Labour's plans for the UK economy. While no concrete policies were announced the speech picked up on a number of key areas including last week’s statistics on homelessness.
“At the heart of Jeremy’s campaign, upon which he received such a huge mandate, was the rejection of austerity politics,” he told the packed hall. “But austerity is just a word almost meaningless to many people. Austerity is also not just a word for the 100,000 children in homeless families who tonight will be going to bed not in a home of their own but in a bed and breakfast or temporary accommodation.
“Austerity is not an economic necessity, it’s a political choice,” he went on. “The leadership of the Conservative Party made a conscious decision six years ago that the very richest would be protected and it wouldn’t be those who caused the economic crisis, who would pay for it. Although they said they were one nation Tories, they’ve demonstrated time and time again, they don’t represent one nation, they represent the 1 per cent.”
He also mentioned the recent tax credits vote in Parliament and how Labour would seek to change it, but still introduce some cuts to balance the budget and reduce the deficit:
“The Conservatives cut tax credits to working families to pay for a multi-billion pound cut in inheritance tax. Families who had done everything asked of them. Working hard but dependent on tax credits to make up for low pay. They will have £1300 taken from them to pay for a tax cut to the wealthiest 4 per cent of the population.
The shadow chancellor also chose to pick out some specific companies claiming, “Labour’s plan to balance the books will be aggressive. We will force people like Starbucks, Vodafone, Amazon and Google and all the others to pay their fair share of taxes. Let me tell you also, there will be cuts to tackle the deficit but our cuts will not be the number of police officers on our streets or nurses in our hospitals or teachers in our classrooms.”