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McDonnell shares Trump's fears over impact of globalisation on workers

Published 15/11/2016

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell wants a U-turn on welfare cuts
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell wants a U-turn on welfare cuts

John McDonnell said he shares Donald Trump's concerns about the impact of globalisation on workers as he demanded extra support for people struggling to survive on low and middle incomes.

The shadow chancellor is calling on the Government to ditch "failed" austerity policies in next week's mini-budget and look after households struggling to get by instead of giving tax breaks to the rich.

Mr McDonnell insisted he wanted "freedom of trade" but conceded he agreed with fears raised by the US president-elect on the campaign trail about the harm that globalised trade was having on the living standards of workers, though he was quick to distance himself from the Republican billionaire.

Asked if Mr Trump's claims about the impact of globalisation was one he shared, Mr McDonnell told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Of course it is, but he says it as an election slogan and will not deliver on it. He simply did it to garner votes to win an election."

Mr McDonnell said the austerity measures introduced by former Chancellor George Osborne have "failed" and must be dealt with in next week's Autumn Statement.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "If we want a fair economy we have got to end the austerity measures that were introduced by George Osborne.

"We saw a period of time in which tax cuts were given to the rich and corporations while some of the most deprived in our community, particularly disabled people, were hit with cuts in benefits."

He added: "I would withdraw the capital gains tax benefits that were given to 0.3% of our population, some of the richest people in our country we were given tax cuts while the same time in the same budget we were cutting benefits to disabled people.

"We are reversing the cuts to corporation taxes as well but, more importantly, we want long term stable investment in our economy, which will grow our economy."

Mr McDonnell will use a speech to attack the Government for its "shambolic" approach to Brexit, claiming it risks hitting workers in the UK.

He will highlight reports of a rift between Philip Hammond and his Cabinet colleagues, claiming the "weak" Chancellor has been isolated over the approach to negotiations with the EU.

He will accuse ministers of plotting a "closed-minded Brexit" that "works only for bankers and the rich, instead of one that's based on fairness and works for the rest of us".

M r McDonnell will set three tests for the Chancellor, saying: "We need a credible fiscal framework that supports Brexit; we need actual support for those in work on low and middle incomes; and we need secure and properly funded public services.

"We want to see an end to austerity, with the NHS and social care properly funded and ESA (employment and support allowance) and Universal Credit cuts reversed.

"We want to see an end to tax giveaways for the wealthy.

"And we need a serious commitment from government to invest across the whole of our country."

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