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JOHN McDONNELL vowed today to create an “irreversible shift in power” in favour of regions outside of London.
Speaking in Liverpool, the shadow chancellor said that an incoming Labour government must address the “urgent task of rebuilding our social fabric that has been torn apart by the Tories.”
After describing the experiences of his father and grandfather, who were both Liverpool dockers, Mr McDonnell promised unprecedented levels of investment across the country.
“Our aim as a Labour government is to achieve what past Labour governments have aspired to: an irreversible shift in the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people,” he said.
“That means change, it means investment on a scale never seen before in this country — and certainly never seen before in the north and outside of London and the south-east.
“To achieve that also requires an irreversible shift in the centre of gravity in political decision-making and investment in this country from its location solely in London into the north and regions and nations of our country.”
He announced that a social transformation fund with immediate funding of £150 billion would be established by the next Labour government to “upgrade and extend” the education and care system, as well as engage in building a wave of new council houses.
A section of Treasury funds would be directed to aid and encourage local development in all English regions, with ringfenced funding for locally decided infrastructure projects.
He also pledged that Labour would establish a northern-based national transformation fund, so that government decisions made about the region would be made and scrutinised in the region itself.
And he said Labour’s Treasury will meet outside of London and hold ministerial office in the north of England, saying: “The centre of political gravity is shifting away from London.
“This is where the investment is needed, and this is where those decisions on investment need to be made on the ground.
“Power is coming home — back to the people.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that Mr McDonnell’s economic vision would resemble the 1945 Labour government and will “bring back investment, decency and equality within our society.”
And Scotland Labour leader Richard Leonard said the plans would “transform” the employment market north of the border.
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