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McDonnell: Chancellor may sell assets to plug budget hole

George Osborne is “desperately trying to plug a hole in the budget” and is considering selling off assets such as Channel 4 and the Land Registry to do so, Labour has warned.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said he was concerned by the potential loss of control of essential public services because of the need to reform tax credits.

Tax credits will be a central feature of Wednesday’s Autumn Statement. Mr McDonnell said he believes the Chancellor will “pull back a bit” from his original plans but was worried the burden will be shifted onto other services and vulnerable people.

Ahead of Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, Mr McDonnell said: “He’s desperately trying to plug a hole in the budget that he’s created himself, and to dig him out of that hole he’s no longer selling off the family silver, this is the furniture that’s going.”

Mr McDonnell also said the Chancellor had not delivered on his promises to tackle debt and his proposals were usually more “political stunts” than sound economics.


Chancellor to outline plans to build 400,000 new homes

The measures will include building 200,000 new starter homes. Credit: PA

The Chancellor is expected to outline plans to build 400,000 new homes in England during his Autumn Statement on Wednesday.

George Osborne will pledge to "turn generation rent into generation buy" through the largest affordable housebuilding programme in more than 30 years.

The measures will include 200,000 new starter homes with a 20% discount for first-time buyers under 40 and 135,000 Help to Buy shared ownership homes.

The Government will also help create 10,000 homes that will be available to rent at around 20% below the market rent to allow tenants to save for a deposit, as well as 8,000 specialist homes for older residents and people with disabilities.

Mr Osborne is expected to say: "In the end, spending reviews like this come down to choices about what your priorities are. And I am clear: in this Spending Review, we choose housing. Above all, we choose homes that people can buy."


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