Spring Statement: John McDonnell attacks 'astounding complacency'

Spring Statement: John McDonnell attacks 'astounding complacency'
From BBC - March 13, 2018

Public services have been "ignored" by the Conservatives despite "a crisis on a scale we have never seen before", Labour's shadow chancellor has claimed.

John McDonnell said the "complacency" shown by Chancellor Philip Hammond's Spring Statement was "astounding".

In his response in the Commons he accused the Tories of not listening to doctors, nurses, teachers or police.

But the chancellor dismissed Labour for offering an "inward-looking, narrow-minded economy".

The exchanges followed Mr Hammond's first Spring Statement, after the Budget was moved to the autumn.

Mr McDonnell argued that "austerity was a political choice not an economic necessity", adding: "We were never all in this together as they claimed."

He said to Mr Hammond: "Your complacency today is astounding. We face - in every public service - a crisis on a scale we have never seen before.

"Have not you listened to the doctors and nurses, the teachers, the police officers, the carers and even your own councillors? They are telling you they ca not wait for the next Budget. They are telling you to act now.

"For eight years they have been ignored by this government. And today - they have been ignored again."

Mr Hammond had hailed the forecasts that the UK economy had grown at a slightly faster rate than predicted in November and that borrowing was down.

Instead, Mr McDonnell said, growth in the UK economy "was among the lowest in the G7 and the slowest since 2012".

"Wages are lower now - in real terms - than they were in 2010 - and they are still falling," he told the Commons.

He said three million people were "in insecure work" and the Resolution Foundation claimed changes to benefits due to come in next month would leave 11m families worse off, with the "harshest cuts" falling on disabled people.

He said government investment was nearly 18bn below 2010 levels, which was part of the reason why "UK industry is 20 to 30% less productive that in other major economies". whileR&D funding had been cut by 1 billion in real terms.


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