Thursday 19 September 2019 5:00 pm

London's top earners are sign of 'sick economy', says Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has taken aim at wealthy Londoners, arguing the capital’s inequality is a sign of “a sick economy”. 

Ahead of the party conference, Labour wonks have analysed Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, finding that the richest 10 per cent of Londoners own 61 per cent of the city’s total wealth. 

The data also reveals wider inequality between London and the regions, with the richest Londoners having more than one and a half times wealth than the entire West Midlands, and almost two and a half times more wealth than the whole of Wales.

Corbyn, whose own net worth is estimated at £3m, said the “system was broken” and vowed to announce policies at the party conference, which starts on Sunday, that will put “people before privilege”.   

Corbyn said: “The dramatic scale of wealth inequality in our country is a sign of a sick economy. The system is broken when it inflates the wealth of the richest, while failing to invest in our future.

“This inequality doesn’t just undermine our future prosperity, it’s linked to all sorts of social problems, including violent crime, worse health outcomes and reduced access to education. And we know that concentrations of wealth generate unaccountable power, corrupting our politics in the process.

“But we can change things. Democracy moves power from the bank balance and the boardroom to the voting booth.”

Last week shadow chancellor John McDonnell unveiled plans to force all private companies employing more than 250 people to set up “ownership funds” giving workers financial stakes in their companies and increasing powers to influence how they are run. It was estimated that Labour’s policy would equate to a land-grab of around £300bn. 

Corbyn has made no secret of their dislike for the Square Mile, repeatedly making veiled threats towards banks and bankers, and pitting the financial services industry against manufacturing.

This morning The Times reported that Labour was poised to reintroduce Clause IV, the old statement of his party’s aims and values, which commits the party to widespread nationalisation. It was jettisoned by Tony Blair back in 1995.

However a Labour source told CityAM one constituency party, known as a CLP, had submitted a motion to resurrect it, but the National Executive Committee (NEC) had asked for them to withdraw it. 

“If the CLP doesn’t withdraw the motion, the NEC will recommend it be opposed,” he added. 

Main image: Getty