The Labour Party's top economic spokesman has spoken out strongly against the British government's austerity measures and called for increased taxation of the wealthy.

John McDonnell told the party's annual conference Monday that the Conservative-led government made a "conscious decision" six years ago to protect the very wealthy at the expensive of ordinary people.

The veteran left-winger is the Labour Party's "shadow chancellor," which makes him a top adviser to opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.

McDonnell was careful to emphasize that if Labour comes to power it would reduce the country's crushing budget deficit.

But he said he would do this by "fairer, more progressive taxation" rather than by placing more burdens on poor and middle-income workers.

He called for an aggressive drive to prevent multinational corporations from evading taxes.