In a bid to patch up its beleaguered economic credibility, Labour will support George Osborne’s fiscal charter designed to guarantee "budget responsibility.” Speaking to the Guardian on Friday, Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said his party was not a “deficit denier,” and would back Osborne’s charter.
However, McDonnell insisted his party would take a different approach than the Conservatives to balancing the budget, including opposing tax cuts, protecting low and middle-earners and clamping down on tax evasion and avoidance.
A lack of trust in Labour’s economic credentials was cited by voters as one of the major reasons for the party’s failure at the general election in May. Corbyn’s support grew out of his anti-austerity plank opposing the sweeping cuts promised by the Conservatives.
McDonnell’s promise to adhere to the charter, which commits the Government to reduce debt falling as a share of GDP each year, is an attempt to counter the criticism of Labour under Ed Miliband.
"We accept we are going to have to live within our means and we always will do -- full stop,” said the shadow chancellor. “We are not deficit deniers. We will support the charter. We will support the charter on the basis we are going to want to balance the book, we do want to live within our means and we will tackle the deficit."
However, McDonnell promised a different approach to deficit reduction, by creating a “dividing line” between the parties. "Our basic line is we are not allowing either middle or low-earners or those on benefit to have to pay for the crisis,” he told the newspaper. “It is as simple as that."
Jeremy Corbyn will spend the weekend in Brighton ahead of his first Labour Party conference as leader, which starts on Sunday.
According to The Independent, Corbyn was planning to use his speech to apologise for Labour’s involvement in the second Iraq War. However, on Friday a spokesman for Corbyn rubbished that story. "Jeremy Corbyn said during his election campaign that he would apologise for the Iraq War,” the spokesman said. "He does intend to, but it will not be at the Labour conference."