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McDonnell pledges ‘irreversible shift’ in power

John McDonnell has promised to break up parts of Whitehall with ‘decisions made transparently and democratically in each region’ if Labour wins the December General Election.

Speaking yesterday (November 7) in Liverpool, the shadow chancellor said promised an ‘irreversible shift in the balance of power’ with a ‘powerful section of the Treasury’ be based in the north of England.

Mr McDonnell said a future Labour government would establish a £150bn in a new Social Transformation Fund, which would replace, upgrade and expand schools, hospitals, care homes and council houses.

He added that the National Transformation Fund will include a Local Transformation Fund in each of England’s regions.

The shadow chancellor said the Local Transformation Fund money will be ringfenced for infrastructure projects decided and developed at a local level.

‘With decisions made transparently and democratically in each region about how their fund is allocated,’ he added.

‘And regional offices of government departments overseen by a board of local county and city council leaders with that board publicly accountable to open meetings of local councillors, trade unions and business representatives.

‘They will be supported by a National Transformation Fund unit of the Treasury.’

Labour will also establish regional government offices in each of the nine regions of England.

These offices will be staffed by civil servants from relevant departments, including Treasury, BEIS, MHCLG, Transport, and Education.

‘I can confirm that this powerful section of the Treasury Unit will be based here in the North,’ said Mr McDonnell.

‘At the same time my Treasury ministerial meetings will no longer be solely in London. Labour’s Treasury ministers will meet outside of London and will have a ministerial office in the North. The centre of gravity of political gravity is shifting away from London.

Commenting on Mr McDonnell’s proposals, the interim director of the IPPR North think tank, Arianna Giovannini said more clarity was needed on ‘key issues’.

‘Politicians in London have failed all of our regions – even the capital,’ she said. ‘Any future government must put devolution of power and resources at its heart. When the North prospers, so does the nation.

‘It is encouraging to see proposals for a regional tier in England, accountable to council leaders, trade unions and businesses – something IPPR North has recommended. Devolved and inclusive decisions are better decisions.

‘Labour must build on the innovation that has already begun right here in the North – metro mayors and pan-northern collaboration are both gaining momentum. We’re building a powerhouse of the North, by the North, for the North. We now need to see concrete proposals for how parties will devolve in a coherent and inclusive way to all towns and cities.’

Photo Credit – Derwiki (Pixabay)

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