Tuesday 19 November 2019 8:03 am

John McDonnell: ‘No one needs to be a billionaire’

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell is set to take aim at billionaires today, describing their wealth as “obscene” as Labour releases research showing almost a third of Britain’s billionaires have donated money to the Tories.

McDonnell is expected to say he wants to “rewrite the rules of our economy” in a speech in central London later today, presenting the election as a chance for voters to change a system where billionaires can buy access to power.

Read more: Boris Johnson postpones corporation tax cut

Labour said that almost a third of the UK’s 151 billionaires have donated over £50m to the Conservatives since 2005, while the government is set to hand out £100bn of tax breaks for wealthy individuals and corporations by 2023/24.

“Someone on the national minimum wage would have to work 69,000 years to get paid £1bn and a newly qualified nurse would have to wait 50,000 years,” McDonnell will say.

“No one needs or deserves to have that much money, it is obscene.”

“It is also obscene that these billionaires are buying access and tax breaks to Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party.”

Labour is pledging to redistribute wealth “to the many, not the few” if it wins the upcoming general election on 12 December.

Its economic policies include the nationalisation of rail, utility and water companies, moving towards a four-day working week, and higher taxes for the wealthy.

Labour’s plan to nationalise parts of BT to provide free full-fibre broadband to every UK household, announced last week, have been condemned by broadband providers as showing a “fundamental misunderstanding” of how the industry works.

Read more: Labour’s BT plans show ‘misunderstanding’ of broadband industry, firms warn

The Conservatives have hit back at Labour’s tax plans, saying they would hurt hard-pressed families instead of billionaires.

“Labour will massively ramp up spending and would hammer ordinary people with an extra £2,400 [in] taxes every year,” said Treasury minister Simon Clarke.

Main image credit: Getty