Shadow Chancellor backs council’s business approach

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell at the TAS Partnership in Preston
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell at the TAS Partnership in Preston
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Preston Council’s “innovative” approach to economic development is to be used as a model for other authorities, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor has said.

John McDonnell MP visited the city on Wednesday, where he set out the party’s plans to support the development of co-operatives and measures to expand employee ownership.

He said the “radicalism” shown in Preston, through the council’s community wealth building project and support for co-operatives, was needed across the country.

Speaking at the TAS Partnership, an employee-owned transport company, he described the cuts to Preston Council as “grotesquely unfair” and said the city had been given a “really tough deal”.

But he said: “But it is valiant, absolutely courageous what they are doing.

“They are doing the best they can through community wealth building, the creativity is just astounding and we are trying to use this as a model to take to other local authorities.”

Mr McDonnell made a speech setting out the Labour Party’s commitment to supporting the growth of the co-operative sector within the economy, which the party says could unlock a £40bn bonus to the economy.

He spoke about employee ownership, and said: “I know the council here in Preston has already started working on this, providing help and support to those business owners retiring and making sure viable businesses stay locally owned.

“I’m very pleased to be in Preston as I think the council here has provided a model of how an innovative local Labour administration can start to think and act creatively to secure sustainable economic growth. This kind of radicalism is exactly what we need across the whole country.”