The shadow chancellor claimed Labour would get Britian money to invest in tech like artificial intelligence by cracking down on banks and “digging up” tax havens in the Cayman Islands.
Mr McDonnell said: “I’m worried that the City of London isn’t listening and what we have is a system whereby the productive elements of the economy that are creating wealth is being diverted into property speculation and not addressing the real need and the fundamentals of our economy.
“We’re facing the fourth industrial revolution and we’ve got the lowest investment in robots in the G7, and we’re still not investing in the schools we need.
“We need to harness the resources of the finance sector in this country to make sure it’s invested in long-term, patient, stable investment, and I’m not seeing that happen.”
He was speaking at a protest outside the Royal Exchange building in London, organised by pressure group Change Finance and Positive Money.
In a speech, Mr McDonnell renewed Labour’s 2017 election pledge for a transaction tax between financial institutions.
He advocated getting tough on legal tax avoidance and ensuring the UK is not “ripped off” anymore by banks.
The shadow chancellor said: “In the last general election people accused me of having a magic money tree.
“Well, I’ve found it – it’s in the Cayman Islands. We’re going to dig it up and bring it here.”
He added: “[To banks] the message is this – you will get a decent rate of return but we are not going to be ripped off any more – ripped off by speculation, privatisation, job cuts and exploitation of workers.”
Britain’s biggest concerns, according to the shadow chancellor, are household debt and the fact that wages are lower than they were in 2010.
However, he praised the country’s top bank manager, Mark Carney, and said he is glad he is remaining in post until 2020.
Mr McDonnell said: “I have a good working relationship with Mark Carney, I’m glad he’s remaining, it will give us the stability and it will enable us then when we go into a government we can work with a banker we have confidence in.”
Yesterday Mr Carney, the Governor of the bank of England, warned fourth industrial revolution technology could destroy 10% of British jobs.
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