John McDonnell has declared that “someone needs to get a grip” in a pre-Budget speech describing how the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK has “exposed the social emergency that we face in our public services after ten years of austerity”.
In a speech delivered on Monday morning, the outgoing Shadow Chancellor highlighted the inadequacies of NHS funding, the flaws in the UK’s social security system, the problems in prisons and the slow recovery of the economy.
On extra resources needed by the NHS to deal with coronavirus cases, McDonnell said: “My only hope is that the announcement of the public health allocations has been held back by Dominic Cummings for a publicity splash on budget day.”
The ally of Jeremy Corbyn also made a point of recognising the work of Anneliese Dodds, MP for Oxford East and shadow Treasury minister, and said he was “hoping she gets a significant role in the new administration”.
McDonnell has confirmed that he will step down and not serve in the shadow cabinet of Labour’s next leader, whose identity will be revealed on April 4th. Asked about his legacy at the event, he said: “This isn’t an obituary, I’m not going anywhere.”