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John McDonnell: Labour will scrap PFI

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has announced plans to scrap private finance initiatives and invest in major rail projects if Labour was to win the next general election.

Speaking at the party’s annual conference in Brighton, Mr McDonnell said Labour would effectively scrap PFI if it came into government.

“Jeremy Corbyn has made it clear that, under his leadership, never again will this waste of taxpayer money be used to subsidise the profits of shareholders, often based in offshore tax havens,” he said.

“The government could intervene immediately to ensure that companies in tax havens can’t own shares in PFI companies, and their profits aren’t hidden from HMRC.

“We’ll put an end to this scandal and reduce the cost to the taxpayers. How? We have already pledged that there will be no new PFI deals signed by us. But we will go further. I can tell you today, it’s what you’ve been calling for.

“We’ll bring existing PFI contracts back in-house.”

In a wide-ranging speech, Mr McDonnell spoke about a number of energy, research, transport and infrastructure project any new Labour government would back, and publicly backed the Swansea Tidal Lagoon.

Commenting on energy, the shadow chancellor said he would launch a new government-backed energy company “working with the co-operative sector on a scale never seen before in this country”.

Taking a swipe at the government’s plans for infrastructure investment in the North, McDonnell said that Labour would invest in a swathe of schemes in northern regions including extending HS2 into Scotland.

“We’ll build Crossrail for the North, and we will extend HS2 into Scotland and invest in the whole of the country.

“We will deliver the funding for the Midlands Connect, we will overturn decades of neglect in the south West and we will electrify the rail lines all the way through from Cornwall all the way to London once and for all.”

The shadow chancellor has expanded on plans initially put forward in the manifesto in the snap general election in June.

On Brexit, McDonnell said: “We will address the brutal treatment of EU citizens by this government, we demand that the rights of EU citizens in this country are protected.

“I want to warn the Tories, if they try to water down the protections on worker’s rights and the environment we’ve secured, we will give them the political battle of their lives.”



Readers' comments (2)

  • I disagree with almost everything about the current shabby band calling itself the "Labour Party" but, when it comes to the brazenly corrupt relationship between Tory politicians and Big Business over the handling of PfI contracts, there is a powerful case for ending the entire massively expensive fiasco and going back to basics.

    Companies like Balfour Beatty routinely swallow vast sums of public money as these juicy deals are handed out by politicians of doubtful ethics, but we are never allowed to see just how much these companies discreetly contribute to Tory Party funds.

    This is an un-exposed scandal in which the tracks of the powerful are usually (but not always) well-covered.

    Public objections to some of the more scandalous excesses of forcing through ridiculously expensive PfI schemes have started to reveal cracks in the Tories' armour. This scandal must not be allowed to be swept under the carpet... it is the kind of corrupt rot in public service which can deservedly bring a Government down.

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  • Unaffordable rubbish from Labour.

    Plus the injury is now littered with contractors having taken a bath on PFI deals - in other words they have subsidised the projects. The banks and private funders may have made plenty, but the construction industry hasn't.

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