- Labour’s John McDonnell was pressed on his own spending plans while responding to the government’s latest.
- The BBC asked him to spell out the precise cost of Labour’s infrastructure plans.
- He said it was a “trite question” which “iPads and advisors” can answer.
LONDON – Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell couldn’t to provide figures for Labour’s borrowing plans when pressed during an interview, but insisted that “iPads and advisers” do that job for him.
McDonnell was asked by Mishal Husain, a presenter on Radio 4’s “Today” programme, to explain exactly how much his plan to borrow money to invest in infrastructure would cost.
The MP for Hayes and Harlington was unable to provide exact numbers and accused Husain of asking him a “trite” question.
“The type of journalism where you go into an interview and they ask you a question on a particular figure is a trite form of journalism,” McDonnell said. “It’s why we have iPads and advisors.”
He later added that his investment plan “would pay for itself” because it would lead to economic growth.
“What we would do is ensure that day-to-day spending was not paid for by borrowing. It will be paid for through our tax system, and that means stop the tax giveaway to the rich and the corporations,” he said.
“That we would only invest for our infrastructure and that investment would pay for itself on the basis of the growth that we would achieve on those. And that’s a one-to-one return.
“Because, immediately that infrastructure puts more people back into work, they pay their taxes and as a result of that you are able to cover your costs.”
McDonnell has this week done a number of media interviews in response to the government’s budget plans, which were announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond on Wednesday.
The shadow chancellor endured a difficult interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil on Wednesday night when he failed to provide a figure for how much the UK spends paying interest on the national debt.
“I know the figure but I haven’t got it in front of me,” he told Neil.
— BBC Daily Politics and Sunday Politics (@daily_politics)November 22, 2017