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Scotland to see ‘biggest transfer in wealth and power’ since WWII under Labour, John McDonnell vows

JOHN McDONNELL will vow tomorrow to give Scotland its “biggest transfer in wealth and power” from London since the second world war.

Ahead of a two-day campaign tour north of the border, the shadow chancellor blasted the Scottish National Party for offering “its own version of neoliberalism.”

Mr McDonnell will set out his vision for redistribution at a speech in Glasgow tomorrow morning.

He will then hold talks in Scotland’s largest city with trade unions and CBI Scotland, which represents bosses. 

On Saturday he will conclude his visit with a conference on Labour’s plans to boost the Scottish economy in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.

McDonnell said: “Scotland has suffered from a near decade of Tory and SNP austerity. 

“The Tories at Westminster have imposed the bedroom tax and the Rape Clause on working-class Scots, as well presiding over a surge in foodbank use caused by over eight years of austerity.”

He said the SNP government at Holyrood had “passed on Tory austerity to communities,” accusing the party of “bullying councils into making cuts and running down crucial areas like further education, as well as underfunding Scotland's NHS.”

And he criticised the Growth Commission report published by Scotland’s ruling party last year, which set out a vision for economic independence.

“The SNP has also embraced its own version of neoliberalism with the Growth Commission – a blueprint for at least a decade of austerity,” the shadow chancellor said.

“By contrast Labour in government at Westminster will halt austerity – our manifesto commitments could mean £70bn more for Scotland over two terms.”

He said this would “represent the biggest transfer in wealth and power from London to Scotland in postwar Britain.”

And he argued that a Labour government under the stewardship of Jeremy Corbyn would be “the most radically reforming one since that of Clement Attlee and Nye Bevan elected in 1945.”

Ewan Gibbs, a historian and lecturer at the University of the West of Scotland, said Labour’s “commitments to empowering working-class Scots” were “major steps forward in the democratic political revolution.”

He singled out Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard’s support for a “workers’ right to buy,” which would allow employees to take over failing companies. 

But he cautioned if the policy was not ”matched at the level of constitutional reform,” Scots would “remain sceptical of Labour’s commitment to real, radical democracy” across Britain.

“In Scotland there’s an old claim that the people are sovereign,” Mr Gibbs told the Star.

“Labour should pursue that claim through a written constitution and a genuinely confederal relationship for our nations and regions, sweeping away the secretive, sham democracy that makes us into pawns for squabbling elites at Holyrood and Westminster.”

Conrad Landin is Morning Star Scotland Editor.

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