Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has announced plans to scrap the private finance initiative (PFI) and invest in major rail projects if Labour wins the next general election.
Speaking at the party’s annual conference in Brighton, McDonnell said Labour would effectively ditch PFI contracts if it formed the next 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, McDonnell spoke about a number of energy, research, transport and infrastructure projects a Labour government would back, and publicly supported the Swansea Tidal Lagoon.
According to the AJ’s sister title Construction News, the shadow chancellor added that 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,’ he said.
‘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.
Mentioning Brexit, McDonnell said: ‘We will address the brutal treatment of EU citizens by this government. W‘ 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.’