Labour will eliminate the “modern-day scourge” of in-work poverty by the end of the party’s first full term back in office, John McDonnell is to promise.
The shadow chancellor will reject social mobility and instead talk about eradicating poverty in a major speech.
Mr McDonnell is due to set out his party’s plans in a speech at the launch of the Resolution Foundation’s Living Standards Audit on Wednesday morning.
He will say “behind the concept of social mobility is the belief that poverty is OK as long as some people are given the opportunity to climb out of it, leaving the others behind. I reject that completely.”
Instead the left winger said he wanted to see a “society with higher living standards for everyone as well as one in which nobody lacks the means to survive or has to choose between life’s essentials”.
It comes after the party committed to axing the Social Mobility Commission and replace with a social justice commission.
In a departure from previous Labour governments Mr McDonnell will say that he rejects the “belief that it’s OK if your local factory closes, as long as you have cash transfers from the finance sector in the South East or a new warehouse opening on the edge of town paying minimum wage on its zero hour contracts.”
He will announce plans for structural changes to the economy, a network of regional public banks, expanded trade union rights, a £10ph Real Living Wage, workers on boards and public investment across the country.
But he will also emphasise Labour’s support for public services free at the point of use paid for through taxation alongside a reformed social safety net.
He will commit Labour to ending austerity, free school meals, free buses for young people, free childcare, restoring funding for public libraries, leisure centres and parks.
Claire Ainsley, Executive Director of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), described McDonnell’s pledge as “the right thing to do”.
She added: “With more working families unable to make ends meet, people are frustrated at the failure of politics to unlock the jobs, investment and opportunities needed so their families and local economies can thrive.
“Research for JRF this week shows how low-income families are still feeling squeezed: they feel as negative about their family’s economic situation as during the 1992 and 2008 recessions, and for most, economic concerns are the most significant issue driving how they vote.
“This underlines the need for political parties to seize this agenda and set out comprehensive plans to improve living standards, tackle the cost of living and support struggling towns and cities.
“Delivering this commitment should be the number one focus for political leaders after Brexit . That way we can bring the country back together and ensure everyone has the opportunity to build a better life.”