Labour to begin nationalising energy and water within 100 days of winning election, party vows

John McDonnell promises immediate move to give workers and customers control of water and energy companies

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Monday 09 December 2019 08:47
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Labour will begin nationalising water and energy companies within 100 days of taking office, John McDonnell has said.

The shadow chancellor said the new state-owned companies would be run by governing boards consisting of workers, customers and local officials.

The board's meetings would be streamed live online so that people can watch the decisions being made on their behalf, he said.

Mr McDonnell will lay out the plans in a speech in London on Monday as he announces what would be in Labour's first budget, which would be held within 100 days of the election.

It comes as the general election campaign enters its final week and both main parties launch a final push to shore up votes.

Boris Johnson will tour marginal seats in the north-east, while Jeremy Corbyn visits constituencies that his party is hoping to win in the south.

Mr McDonnell's speech will be seen as an attempt to ensure that Labour's plan to nationalise several major industries - a pledge that polling suggests is popular with voters - stays high on the agenda in the final days of the campaign.

The shadow chancellor will promise to "give everyone the option of participating in how their utilities are run".

He is expected to say: “In our first hundred days we will start the process of bringing water and energy into public ownership.

“We’ll set up boards to run them made up of you, the customer, and you, the worker, as well as representatives from local councils, metro mayors and others.

He will add: “We’ll make sure decisions are taken locally by those who understand the services - those who use them and deliver them. Meetings will be public and streamed online with new transparency regulations set higher than ever before, so you can see if your road is being dug up, why, and for how long.

“And we’ll create new People’s Assemblies to hold these boards to account and give everyone the option of participating in how their utilities are run.”

Vowing that "when Labour puts money in your pockets, we will also put power back in your hands", he will say:

Labour said the governing boards set up to run the new services would consist of four politicians, four worker representatives, two public representatives elected by People's Assemblies, two representatives elected by customers, and three industry experts.

The People's Assemblies would bring together customers to raise concerns and discuss how the company was being run. They would meet at least five timies a year.

Mr McDonnell will announce that ending austerity and investing in deprived communities would be the top priority of Labour's first budget, with the work of nationalising key industries second on the list

He is expected to say: “In too many parts of the country, we have been wasting people’s potential. That’s down to successive governments sitting back and leaving the fate of whole communities at the mercy of market forces.

“Good jobs and whole industries that were once the pride of our country have been lost and replaced with dreary, exploitative, insecure and low paid jobs, or in some cases no jobs at all.

No wonder people feel disillusioned in politicians."

“As our manifesto makes clear, turning these two things around will be our number one priority in government.

"

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