Mr McDonnell pledged to bring “socialist change” with the roll-out of more taxpayer-funded services if his party seize power. He claimed a Labour government would have “enough on its plate” without green-lighting another poll on breaking up the UK, but repeated that Labour would not stand in the way of a rerun of the 2014 vote. Pressed on the issue he said: “If there is a mandate from the Scottish people, and the Scottish people determine that mandate, we have said we won’t stand in the way of it.”
Speaking during an event with Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard in Glasgow, the shadow chancellor insisted tackling austerity and poverty should be a higher priority than more constitutional wrangling.
He made the comments as he outlined a radical shake-up of the economy at the heart of Labour’s campaign in the looming general election, claiming that Scotland would get more than an additional £3billion to spend if Mr Corbyn enters Number 10.
Pledging to “rewire the whole economy” he confirmed the party’s manifesto would include hiking income tax on the top five per cent.
Conservative cuts to inheritance and corporation tax would also be reverse in the drive to deliver “socialist change”.
A Scottish Tory spokesman last night said: “Everyone knows Corbyn and McDonnell would sell Scotland’s No voters down the river to get into Number 10. Pro-Union voters in Scotland simply cannot trust Corbyn’s Labour party to stick by our decision to remain within the United Kingdom.”
Earlier, Mr Leonard promised a financial overhaul at Holyrood, saying there would be changes made to the way the block grant Scotland receives from Westminster is calculated.
The Scottish Government should also be able to borrow and issue bonds, he said, to fund both capital projects and day-to-day spending, with these powers to be “without restriction”.
He also pledged land reforms, including the possible introduction of residency requirement for landowners “to discourage absentee landlordism – even if you happen to be the President of the United States of America”.