Labour has urged MPs to unite in opposing the budget.

john mcdonald Rebuilding Britain

Labour has urged MPs to unite in opposing the budget if it does not include plans to halt the rollout of the much-criticised universal credit.

In an interview with Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, McDonnell said: “What we’re saying – and it’s not just me, it’s the National Audit Office, it’s large numbers of charitable organisations – halt the rollout of universal credit to stop these people being forced into poverty.

“And I’m saying to other political parties, if [Hammond] doesn’t halt the rollout of universal credit, we’ve got to vote this budget down. We’ve got to stop him forcing people into poverty in this way.”

McDonnell also said Hammond’s failure to acknowledge the problems with UC amounted to “callous complacency”, but he focused on calling for it not to be extended rather than abolished in his Sunday interviews. A Labour party spokesman has advocated abolishing UC, but some experts say that is unrealistic.

This came after Mr Hammond on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show failed to answer whether he is actually planning to put an end to years of austerity, as PM Theresa May has recently claimed.

Labour has published a new list of 10 “emergency demands” for the government on UC, a benefit reform system that rolls all payments into one monthly lump sum that has pushed claimants into severe hardship.

At the top of its list of demands is ending the five-week wait for payments that it says is “unprecedented in social security.” In comparison, claimants of the stand-alone Jobseeker’s Allowance only wait around 10-14 working days.

“The excessive waiting period is causing severe poverty, foodbank use, rent arrears and even homelessness,” Labour said.

Mr McDonnell urged MPs to reject the Finance Bill this week if the demands – including splitting payments among couples to help prevent financial dependency on abusive spouses – are not met.

During an appearance on Sky News, he added: “I’m saying to other political parties that if [Mr Hammond] doesn’t halt the roll-out of Universal Credit, then we’ve got to vote this Budget down. We’ve got to stop him forcing people into poverty in this way.”

“The callous complacency of the Chancellor, who has refused to make good on the Tories’ promise to end austerity, is shocking.

“Nothing less than an end to failed austerity in the Budget will be acceptable,” he continued.

Mr Hammond will also announce tomorrow that ministers are considering no-interest loans to prevent low-income families from falling prey to loan sharks.

Mr McDonnell said it is “farcical” that ministers are now trying to fix problems they created through their own policies such as UC.

And on Brexit Mr McDonnell said he was shocked that Mr Hammond has suggested that he has “accepted” the possibility of a no-deal scenario.

“He does want us to be like Singapore, a tax haven which will undermine our manufacturing base and, I think, put people’s living standards at risk,” Mr McDonnell argued.

“We’ve got to ensure that there is a deal. The best way of doing that is Theresa May negotiating a proper deal that protects jobs and the economy.

“And if she can’t do that, she should step to one side because there’s too much at risk from a no-deal. If she can’t do it herself, let Labour get on with the negotiations. Or let’s have that general election and let the people decide.”

Labour would “support” a deal that Ms May comes back with if it would “protect jobs and the economy,” he added.


Support Labour Heartlands

Help Us Sustain Ad-Free Journalism

Sorry, I Need To Put Out the Begging Bowl

Independent Journalism Needs You

Our unwavering dedication is to provide you with unbiased news, diverse perspectives, and insightful opinions. We're on a mission to ensure that those in positions of power are held accountable for their actions, but we can't do it alone. Labour Heartlands is primarily funded by me, Paul Knaggs, and by the generous contributions of readers like you. Your donations keep us going and help us uphold the principles of independent journalism. Join us in our quest for truth, transparency, and accountability – donate today and be a part of our mission!

Like everyone else, we're facing challenges, and we need your help to stay online and continue providing crucial journalism. Every contribution, no matter how small, goes a long way in helping us thrive. By becoming one of our donors, you become a vital part of our mission to uncover the truth and uphold the values of democracy.

While we maintain our independence from political affiliations, we stand united against corruption, injustice, and the erosion of free speech, truth and democracy. We believe in the power of accurate information in a democracy, and we consider facts non-negotiable.

Your support, no matter the amount, can make a significant impact. Together, we can make a difference and continue our journey toward a more informed and just society.

Thank you for supporting Labour Heartlands

Just click the donate button below