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Public Ownership ‘We'll put Britain's services in the hands of its workers’

John McDonnell pledges an economic revolution at conference on alternative ownership

PUBLIC ownership is not just a “political decision” but an “economic necessity,” John McDonnell will stress today in a speech on alternative ownership models.

The shadow chancellor will outline Labour’s plans to put democratically owned and managed public services “irreversibly in the hands of workers” so they can “never again be taken away.”

Mr McDonnell will open Labour’s Alternative Models of Ownership conference in London by calling for a greater role for workers and the public in economic decision-making under new forms of democratic ownership.

In what is seen as a major milestone for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s project for the economy, Mr McDonnell is expected to announce that an independent report by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) that will look at how to expand public ownership will be published over the coming months.

The report includes a detailed analysis of the current co-operative sector while drawing on relevant international comparisons, including on potential advantages of a “Right to Own” policy.

Mr McDonnell will announce the creation of a working group to look at how co-operatives can grow, expand and access capital.

On public ownership, he is to say: "We will do this not only because it’s right, not only because it’s the most efficient way of running them, but also because the most important protection of our public services for the long term is for everyone to have and feel ownership of them.

“We aren’t going to take back control of these industries in order to put them into the hands of a remote bureaucracy, but to put them into the hands of all of you – so that they can never again be taken away.

“Public ownership is not just a political decision, it’s an economic necessity.

“We’ll move away from the failed privatisation model of the past, developing new democratic forms of ownership, joining other countries, regions and cities across the world in taking control of our essential services.”

Other speakers will discuss Labour’s Alternative Models of Ownership report, which recommends action to address increasing automation and to broaden economic decision-making.

Mr McDonnell will also accuse the Conservatives of being “intellectually bankrupt,” saying: “Under the Tories, Britain is now seriously out of step with our international partners, failing to keep up with them.

“The [Tories are] caught between clinging onto the failing dogmas of the past and offering a pale imitation of the radical change which Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party now offers.”

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