John McDonnell has said Barnet Council “should be ashamed” for the way it has treated people in the Grahame Park Estate.

The Shadow Chancellor was taken on a tour of the estate during a visit to Burnt Oak yesterday, where he claimed it had suffered years of neglect from the council.

The estate is set to be demolished to make way for new homes.

But Mr McDonnell said: “I think the way the Grahame Park Estate is being treated is a disgrace, Barnet Council should be ashamed in the way which they have treated local people. The conditions people have been forced to live in is appalling.

“This is one of the worse examples of council neglect and they have an almost couldn’t care less attitude and I believe they should be held to account."

Mr McDonnell also visited Bruce’s Barber shop to meet local business owners over issues they face around inequality and economic empowerment.

He said there was currently a lack of finance available to small businesses when they start up and start to scale, while also suffering from a lack of advice.

He continued: “The problem with Barnet Council is that it does not seem to be willing to work with small businesses.

“We have been hearing stories here of Barnet Council owning premises that are standing empty that small business could use but refuse to allow that to happen.

“That is not a way to build a strong local economy.

“The lessons we are picking up here will be going back into our final discussions of our manifesto, which is being written from the grass roots up.”

Mr McDonnell added that the local economy could “buzz” with a Labour Government in power, but that the council needed to be working with them as well.

He said: “It’s a matter of making sure that people have decent wages, trade union rights and making sure we support businesses so that when they employ people they have the resources to pay the living wage.

“On that basis people have money in their pockets and be able to use that to purchase goods and local services which will help grow the local economy."

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott was also in Burnt Oak last night, adding that small businesses have a very important role in regenerating high streets.

She said: “We have seen the decline of the high streets and small businesses is a big employment for young people and so that’s why we are here since we can see the importance of small business.

“Labour want to support our high streets and small businesses.”

Cllr Dan Thomas, Leader of Barnet Council, said: “Barnet has some 23,000 businesses – the third-highest number anywhere in London. Businesses love operating in Barnet because we are a business-friendly borough.

"However, John McDonnell, the self-proclaimed Marxist, has come to Barnet to try and tell us how to best support small businesses.

"This Conservative Council will continue to encourage businesses as we have done for decades. We will continue to help residents set businesses up. We will also continue to encourage small businesses to relocate to Barnet, and support them in their growth.

"We will also continue focusing on regenerating the borough, making sure that it is a great place for residents and businesses alike to be based. Unfortunately, the regeneration on the Grahame Park Estate was delayed by Labour Mayor, Sadiq Khan. Had this interference not taken place, the regeneration of the estate would already have been completed.

"Small businesses thrive in Barnet not in spite of a Conservative Council, but thanks to it. A Labour government would shackle businesses large and small with crippling regulations – the advice of their economic representative could not be less welcome.”