Labour will end 'modern-day scourge' of in-work poverty in five years, says John McDonnell

Posted On: 
17th July 2019

The next Labour government will commit to ending the “modern-day scourge” of in-work poverty over the course of a Parliament, according to John McDonnell.

John McDonnell said Labour would end in-work poverty in their first term in power
PA Images

The Shadow Chancellor will set out plans for structural changes to the economy, including a £10 per hour “Real Living Wage” at a speech in Westminster.

At the launch of think tank the Resolution Foundation’s Living Standards Audit, Mr McDonnell will say: “Behind the concept of social mobility is the belief that poverty is OK as long as some people are given the opportunity to climb out of it, leaving the others behind.

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“I reject that completely, and want to see a society with higher living standards for everyone as well as one in which nobody lacks the means to survive or has to choose between life’s essentials.”

Mr McDonnell will add: “The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said last year that in-work poverty is ‘the problem of our times’.

“I am committing today to ending this modern-day scourge to eliminating in-work poverty by the end of Labour’s first full Parliamentary term.”

The Labour frontbencher will also lay out plans for a new industrial strategy, expanded trade union rights, workers on boards and more free public services like school meals, buses and childcare.

And he will vow to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit, with the Shadow Chancellor saying Labour's “number one goal” is to reduce poverty and create a more equal society.

The executive director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Claire Ainsley, called the plans "the right thing to do".

She added: "Delivering this commitment should be the number one focus for political leaders after Brexit.

“That way we can bring the country back together and ensure everyone has the opportunity to build a better life."

But Brandon Lewis, the Conservative party chairman, said: “Labour’s plans for the economy would lead to worse living standards and harm the people they claim they want to help the most.

“Just this week we have seen wages rise by their fastest in 11 years, giving people more money in their pockets, and record numbers of people getting the security of a wage.”