John McDonnell to call for end to Tory austerity with 'emergency budget' for public services

Credit: PA

John McDonnell will call on Philip Hammond to end seven years of austerity with an "emergency Budget" for public services.

The shadow chancellor will push the Chancellor to set out a "genuine and decisive change of course" when he reveals his Budget plans in the Commons next week.

In a Thursday speech, McDonnell will demand the government lift the public sector pay cap, "properly" fund public services, "pause and fix" Universal Credit, and embark on a large-scale public house-building programme.

"In his first year as Chancellor, Philip Hammond has demonstrated that he completely fails to understand how working people are struggling after seven years of Tory austerity," McDonnell will say.

"Next week the country needs an 'emergency Budget' for our public services that are in crisis, not a budget desperately designed to save the jobs of a weak Prime Minister and her embattled Chancellor.

"There has to be a genuine and decisive change of course."

Noting how Conservatives had failed to crack down on tax avoidance by the super-rich, the shadow chancellor will highlight how nurses have been left to rely on food banks and head teachers were reduced to asking for donations from parents.

"Philip Hammond wants you to believe there is nothing that can be done to end these scandals and that the millions more children who will grow up in poverty under this Government due to their policies cannot be prevented," he will say.

"He wants to pretend he cannot invest on the scale needed, yet he has already borrowed more in his first year as Chancellor than any of his predecessors in their first year at the Treasury.

"There is a better way than this. But it needs a complete break with past failures."

Treasury Minister Steve Barclay said: "Since Labour's recession we have turned our economy around by taking a balanced approach to public spending and backing businesses to create better, higher-paid jobs.

"Labour always take it too far and we know what that means from last time - more debt, higher taxes, fewer jobs - and ordinary working people paying the price."