Labour 'war-gaming' for run on pound if Jeremy Corbyn becomes PM

Wednesday, 27 Sep, 2017

Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell used his speech at the Labour Party conference to reiterate a point made by the Financial Conduct Authority that there are now over three million people in the United Kingdom trapped by what the regulator calls "persistent debt".

The chair of the Jewish Labour Movement said Jeremy Corbyn should be "acutely embarrassed" by the row, while the party was told to "do more to establish that it is not a racist party" by Britain's equality watchdog. The PFI model of funding public services such as new schools and hospitals was established by the Conservatives in the 1990s and has continued under successive governments.

A 2015 parliamentary report said the government owed over 222 billion pounds of charges on PFI contracts spread across several decades.

Jeremy Corbyn has defended shadow chancellor John McDonnell's decision to prepare for the possibility of a run on the pound after Labour takes power.

The scandal of the Private Finance Initiative has resulted in huge long-term costs for taxpayers while providing enormous profits for some companies.

Speaking at the party's annual conference in Brighton, McDonnell said Labour would effectively ditch PFI contracts if it came into government. In the NHS alone, GBP831 million in pre-tax profits have been made over the past six years. "We've always been engaged with the small- to medium-sized businesses, but I think big business is starting to recognise us", said Ajay Nehra, vice-president of Labour Business, an affiliated Labour Party group focused on developing business policy.

If the party had won the election on 8 June, the shadow chancellor said he would have introduced a budget by the end of July to bring in a financial transaction tax and measures to combat tax avoidance.

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He also promised massive government investment in public sector infrastructure.

"We should never forget that we are part of that great Labour tradition and we should be so proud of it".

A Survation poll on Tuesday showed Labour would be the largest party in parliament, albeit short of an outright majority, if a vote were held now.

But contradicting that version of events, a source close to Dr Barbrook told PoliticsHome: "What we had was a meeting where we talked through with the Treasury team about possible scenarios".

But, while having a realistic shot at government and a clearer political identity that has attracted the attention of business, Corbyn's Labour has not been met with universal enthusiasm in the siderooms and bars of Brighton's seafront hotels, where most of the informal lobbying takes place.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned that the proposals for a dramatic state intervention in to the economy would lead to inward investors "running for the hills".