John McDonnell: Theresa May demanding 'blank cheque' with uncosted manifesto

Posted On: 
18th May 2017

John McDonnell has accused Theresa May of demanding a “blank cheque” from the British people by unveiling 60 spending pledges but explaining how she will pay for just one.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell pointed to a number of Tory pledges, asking: “How much does this cost?”
PA Images

The Shadow Chancellor said the Prime Minister was effectively “going to the shops with the nation’s cheque book and not checking the price of the goods as she puts them in the trolley”.

Mrs May today slammed Labour’s own costings plan as “not worth the paper it’s written on” despite failing to come up with any detailed financial figures in her own manifesto.

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The document unveiled in Halifax today pledged a major shake-up of the social care system, measures to curb non-EU immigration and real-terms per person increases in NHS spending.

But most of the 84-page manifesto contained vague plans and there was no clear analysis of how tax changes would affect Treasury revenue or how public cash would be divided out.

Labour pointed to 60 commitments such as road network development, investment in dementia research and ensuring primary schools offer nursery care, with the note: “How much does this cost?”

Mr McDonnell said: “The Tories’ numbers don’t add up. They have published an 84 page blank cheque that provides a tax giveaway guarantee for big business, while offering a roll of the dice for working families with no commitments to rule out rises in income tax and National Insurance.

“Now we can see why Theresa May is running scared of debating Jeremy Corbyn, when she publishes a document like this that contains more questions than answers.

“It also further shows how her party has managed to add £700bn to the national debt since 2010, as they won’t be straight with the British people on how much their plans for a wealthy few truly cost.”

He added: “This is the equivalent of the Prime Minister going to the shops with the nation’s cheque book and not checking the price of the goods as she puts them in the trolley.”



Earlier in the week Labour produced detailed costings of its many manifesto commitments, spelling out hopes of raising billions by hiking corporation tax and through a new financial transactions tax.

The Conservatives accused the party of having a £58bn “black hole” in its finances but experts said the Tories were reading day-to-day spending and long-term investment in a way governments would never do.

Mrs May said in her manifesto launch speech today: “Ordinary people would pay the price of Labour.”