John McDonnell has refused to put a cost on Labour’s renationalisation plans, laughing off estimates taxpayers would pay nearly £200bn.
Speaking to Andrew Marr, the shadow chancellor said a Labour government would give shareholders whatever parliament decided.
However, he said the government would pay close to the value of companies like Royal Mail to take them into public ownership.
He added there would be no long-term cost.
“You’re working on the basis that this is a cost,” he told Marr. “When we purchase something, that comes onto our books. It’s neutral, that becomes an asset that we own.”
He said stopping shareholder dividends would mean better and cheaper services.
Earlier this year the Centre for Policy Studies estimated the plans would cost at least £176bn, or £6,500 for each British household.
A report from Clifford Chance in March found the government would face inevitable legal challenges if it tried to force nationalisation.