Labour’s John McDonnell has spoken out about the effects of austerity in Chingford.

The Shadow Chancellor visited Chingford on Saturday (June 15) to outline Labour’s plans to raise living standards and rebuild the economy.

Housing crisis

Speaking to the Guardian, Mr McDonnell said low wages have impacted Chingford and there is a housing problem which had “developed over time”. As a result, young people are “not being able to get on the housing market”, he said.

The Shadow Chancellor said: “Wages are still below the levels of 2007 and 2008 for many people on average weekly earnings.

“That has impacted on an area like this which has got high levels of employment but not necessarily the level of wages that will meet the people’s needs – particularly around housing costs.”

Public services cutbacks

He added that when he was last in Chingford, there had been a discussion about “the withdrawal of police and support because of cutbacks”.

He said: “There have been nine years of pretty harsh austerity – and people have felt it.”

However, Mr McDonnell said following discussions at his previous committee meeting in Chingford, people had come up with a “fairly robust” solution.

“A fair taxation system, reversing corperation tax cuts, making sure we tackle tax evasion and avoidance – and on that basis we start investing in our public services again,” the Shadow Chancellor said.

Social care

Mr McDonnell said the area should also have better social care. He said a national report from a few months ago suggested “87 people die a day before they receive the social care they need”.

He continued: “In an area like this where we have a mixed population of young, but an older population as well, social care is absolutely critical.

“So fair taxation allows us to fund the education services we need, the NHS care and put police back on local areas.”

Despite being an area which the Conservatives retain hold of, Mr McDonnell said he felt there was growing support for the Labour Party in Chingford.

He said: “From what I have seen and the last time I was here, it is one of those areas where I think we are winning the argument.

“The policies we are advocating are resonating what needs the people have.”

East London and West Essex Guardian 16th June

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