John McDonnell says Labour will help local councils bring public services in-house

Shadow Chancellor will unveil his party’s new Community Wealth Building Unit, which will nationalise public services and set up new energy companies

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 07 February 2018 23:42 GMT
Mr McDonnell will address Labour activists on Thursday in Preston
Mr McDonnell will address Labour activists on Thursday in Preston

Labour is set to offer help to local councils to bring public services in-house, as John McDonnell warns the party cannot afford to wait for power nationally to begin dismantling austerity.

The Shadow Chancellor will today use a speech in Preston to claim that austerity measures have “blighted” communities in Britain and forced councils to cut and privatise public services.

Mr McDonnell, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest allies in Westminster, will also unveil Labour’s new Community Wealth Building Unit that will aim to offer help to councils to nationalise public services and set up new energy companies.

The organisation aims to bring together councillors, unions and independent experts with experience of delivering frontline services to offer advice to the party’s councillors across the UK.

In his speech on Thursday, he will say: “The next Labour government will end austerity and properly fund local authorities, instead of cutting back and passing the buck like the Conservatives are doing. But we cannot afford to wait until we are in power nationally.

“There are many creative solutions being used already, like in Preston, and we need to spread this inspiring work around other Labour councils now, so we can bring services back in-house, stimulate the economy and provide decent jobs, extend ownership and control and strengthen local democracy.

“By working together to share these principles where Labour is already in power locally, we can sow the seeds of a country that works for the many, not the few.”

Mr McDonnell said the new unit will build on the experience of Preston City Council, which he said had returned almost £200m to the local economy, supporting more than 1,600 jobs, by using the city’s institutions and local government contracts to keep money in the local economy.

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