Labour shadow chancellor visits Great Yarmouth Unemployed Workers Centre

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell visited Great Yarmouth.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY/Archant Library

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell visited Great Yarmouth. Picture: ANTONY KELLY/Archant Library - Credit: Archant

The shadow chancellor of the exchequer was back in his old stomping ground this week.

Labour's John McDonnell, who grew up in the town, was invited by Great Yarmouth and District Trades Union Council to the borough's Unemployed Workers Centre on Tuesday.

As Jeremy Corbyn's 'left' hand man, Mr McDonnell is one of the most important figures in British politics.

President of the trades council, John Cannell, said the organisation took the opportunity after the visit to speak to John McDonnell about its latest campaign, to end low pay and improve workers' conditions in the local holiday industry.

He added: 'We explained that the industry is typified by minimum wage pay, and zero-hour, limited hours contracts that include opt out of the Working Time Regulations, giving flexibility to the employer but leaving workers in precarious employment.

'The low pay and variable weekly working hours has contributed to the decline in the local economy as workers spending power is limited, with the empty shops and vacant market stall pitches in the town centre as clear evidence of an impoverished community.'

Representatives of the trades council told Mr McDonnell they had teamed up with Unite the Union, to organise workers in the industry and provide a platform to improve the lives of people who contribute to the tourist industry.

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Mr Cannell said those working in tourism and hospitality do not benefit from the huge profits generated by the large hospitality companies.

Mr McDonnell visited the Unemployed Workers Centre, which was opened by the trades council last October to provide advice and support to the area's unemployed.

The centre has helped people with Universal Credit application, since Great Yarmouth was chosen as a pilot area for the government's new benefit system.

It has been plagued by delays of over two months for some people before they received any payment.

In the most extreme cases people were left and homeless when they were unable to keep up with their rent.

On Friday and Saturday the trades council will be holding engagement events highlighting their End Low Pay Campaign and protesting adjacent to the A47 near the Vauxhall roundabout.