John McDonnell unveils 'radical' renationalisation plans - and says Labour ministers would set the price

Posted On: 
25th September 2017

Labour would undertake a "radical" programme of renationalisation if it wins the next election - with the Government setting the price, John McDonnell has declared.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell will speak at Labour's annual conference in Brighton today
Credit: 
PA Images

The Shadow Chancellor said the Royal Mail, the railways, water industry, energy market and the construction sector would all be brought into public ownership.

In a surprise move, he also confirmed that rather than paying the going market rate for shares, companies would instead be forced to accept an amount determined by politicians.

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Speaking on Radio Four's Today programme, Mr McDonnell said: "The ones that we are looking at, as you know from the manifesto, we’re bringing rail back into public ownership as those franchises drop; we’re looking at water, because of the way to be frank consumers have been exploited, and we’re looking at building an alternative energy system as well.

"My own priorities are rail, water and energy and construction in that way, and Royal Mail that will follow, but it depends again, this is the whole point of our conference this year, is that we are listening to our members and saying, ‘what are your priorities?’ because when we go into the next election, that manifesto has to be radicalised and refined and those priorities have to be spelt out."

The cost of such an extensive programme has been estimated at hundreds of billions, based on the market capitalisation of the companies identified.

Asked how much the programme would cost taxpayers, he said: "The value of any industry that is brought into public ownership is determined by parliament itself, and that will be a detailed assessment.”

He said that under the plans, shareholders would be reimbursed with government bonds and the “behaviour” of the company since privatisation would affect the amount awarded to shareholders.

He added “The perceived behaviour affects the price, that’ll be determined by parliament.

“When parliament determines that, what those shareholders will get is a secured bond which is much more secure than what they’ve got at the moment.”