UK opposition Labour eyes new BoE role, tax crackdown

GMT 17:19 2015 Monday ,28 September

Arab Today, arab today UK opposition Labour eyes new BoE role, tax crackdown

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell (L)
Brighton - AFP

Britain's opposition Labour party on Monday promised a radical review of the Bank of England's role and said it would get "aggressive" on the taxation practices of multinationals such as Amazon and Google.

John McDonnell, a veteran socialist who was appointed Labour's top finance official earlier this month, said Labour was now "the only anti-austerity party in Britain" as he outlined the party's economic plans.

"Austerity is not an economic necessity, it's a political choice," he told delegates at the party's annual conference in Brighton, southern England.

He said his party would instead pursue an "aggressive" policy on collecting business taxes.

John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry business lobby, said the shadow chancellor's decision to name Amazon, Google and Starbucks was "not the best way of signalling a partnership approach with business".

McDonnell also said he was in favour of the Bank of England's independence, but that it may have to focus on more than just hitting inflation targets.

"We will launch a debate on expanding that mandate to include new objectives including growth, employment and earnings," he said.

McDonnell is a long-time ally of the party's new leftist leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose rise has been compared to the leftist parties of Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece.

In an allusion to Corbyn's call for a "people's quantitative easing", McDonnell said that "active monetary policy" would be used to stimulate demand although he stopped short of advocating the printing of money.

David Gauke, a junior finance minister from Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives said in response that Labour's plans "would hurt hardworking people" and would threaten "every family's security."

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