Shadow chancellor John McDonnell claims Labour will back Osborne's fiscal policy

But McDonnell said party under Jeremy Corbyn would oppose tax cuts

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell

Labour’s new shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has said the party will support George Osborne’s fiscal charter designed to guarantee “budget responsibility”.

But Mr McDonnell has insisted Labour will adopt a different approach to the Conservatives, opposing tax cuts and focusing instead on tackling tax evasion and avoidance.

The MP for Hayes and Harlington made the pledge ahead of this weekend's Labour Party conference, in Brighton, as he attempts to reassure voters of his party’s economic credibility.

The anti-austerity message of Jeremy Corbyn, the shadow chancellor’s close friend, propelled him to a huge victory in Labour’s leadership election, but the policy has had many critics, from both within the party as well as outside.

Mr McDonnell told The Guardian Labour were not “deficit deniers”.

"We accept we are going to have to live within our means and we always will do – full stop.

“We will support the charter. We will support the charter on the basis we are going to want to balance the book, we do want to live within our means and we will tackle the deficit.”

Mr Osborne’s proposal, which was revealed in July’s Budget, commits the government to keep debt falling as a share of GDP and achieve a budget surplus by 2019-2020.

Future governments will have to ensure there is a surplus in “normal times” – when the economy is not in recession.

Mr McDonnell also told the newspaper: "We will tackle the deficit but the dividing line between us and the Tories is how we tackle it.

“Our basic line is we are not allowing either middle or low-earners or those on benefit to have to pay for the crisis. It is as simple as that.”

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