John McDonnell MP Blog Headlines
In a major speech at Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in London on Thursday the Shadow Chancellor set out the next Labour government’s approach to the financial sector.
Let me start by thanking you all for coming today and by thanking Bloomberg for the use of their magnificent new building here in the heart of the City.
Since Jeremy appointed me as Shadow Chancellor three years ago I’ve been touring the City meeting representatives from across the finance sector, asset managers, banks and investors.
Actually it’s nothing new to me because when I was a youngster and chair of Finance on the GLC, effectively the Chancellor of the Exchequer for London, that’s exactly what I would do on a regular basis and established a good working relationship.
For the people I have been meeting over the last two years, if they are readers of some of our more excitable newspapers they expect to be meeting a raving extremist who is about to nationalise their company and send them on a re-education course somewhere up north.
Mind you Mark Carney quoting Marx and Engels the other week has thrown the Daily Mail and others into complete confusion.
I’ve been meeting all these people to explain Labour’s plans and to discuss the important role I want the Finance Sector to play in the transformative programme of the next Labour Government.
At each of those meetings I’ve said the same thing as I will say to you today.
We are completely open and transparent about our plans.
There are some policies that you will like and some of which you will be less enthusiastic about.
I don’t expect some people to be overjoyed at having to pay a bit more in income tax or corporation tax or at the introduction of a Financial Transaction...
John McDonnell Banking Opinion, Guardian, Wednesday 22nd March 2018
The revelations published in the Guardian yesterday about the criminal network that is processing money through major British banks are a damning indictment of the failings of our banking system. For a period of at least four years, shortly after the financial crisis in the early 2010s, Russian criminal interests moved nearly $740m through British banks, including HSBC, RBS, Barclays, Lloyds and Coutts, with HSBC as the largest conduit by far.
They could do this, despite regulations expressly designed to prevent such activity taking place. Yet, when presented with a series of urgent questions, demanding answers and action, the response from the government was astonishingly complacent. A mere week after the self-employment tax U-turn, it is following a path well-worn since 2010 – pathetically easy on the big banks and the super-rich, but tough on those just trying to earn a living.
George Osborne, the then chancellor, intervened directly into a 2012 US investigation into HSBC’s money laundering, emailing the Department of Justice (DoJ) to warn that prosecuting Britain’s largest bank would lead to a “global financial disaster” and “financial calamity”. A later Congressional investigation found that the intervention, by the now new editor of the Evening Standard, “played a significant role in ultimately persuading the DoJ not to prosecute HSBC”.
It was under Osborne’s watch that the bank levy, introduced by the last Labour government to claw back some of the astronomical returns major banks had been making, was phased out, in his first budget after the 2015 election. HSBC had previously threatened to leave the country if its £700m bank levy charge wasn’t reduced, lobbying the government heavily. Osborne’s new tax regime for banks, introduced in summer 2015, instead leant...
Let me thank the Chancellor for providing me with an earlier sight of his statement.
I say to the Chancellor: his complacency today is astounding.
We face – in every public service – a crisis on a scale we’ve never seen before.
Hasn’t he listened to the doctors and nurses, the teachers, the police officers, the carers and even his own councillors?
They are telling him they can’t wait for the next Budget. They’re telling him to act now.
For eight years they’ve been ignored by this government.
And today - they’ve been ignored again.
The economic reality
The Chancellor has proclaimed that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
But this shows just how cut off from the real world he is.
Last year growth in our economy was among the lowest in the G7 and the slowest since 2012.
Wages are lower now - in real terms - than they were in 2010 – and they’re still falling.
According to the Resolution Foundation, the changes to benefits due to come in next month will leave 11 million families worse off.
And – as always - the harshest cuts are falling on disabled people.
Productivity and investment
The gap in productivity between this country and the rest of the G7 is almost the widest for a generation.
UK industry is 20 to 30% less productive that in other major economies.
Well, part of the reason is that investment by this government, in real terms, is nearly £18 billion below its 2010 level.
Business investment stagnated in the last quarter of 2017.
4th Industrial Revolution
The Chancellor talks about the 4th Industrial Revolution but Britain has the lowest rate of industrial robot use in the OECD.
And the government...
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