Tuesday 4 April 2017 / 10:27 AM 2017 Press Archive / The Latest from Labour

Jeremy Corbyn speech to launch Labour’s Local Election campaign

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Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, will today launch Labour’s
Local Election campaign and say:

Thank
you for that introduction Bethany and for all that you do in mobilising our
student members in Nottinghamshire.

Labour
depends on all its members to deliver our message of investment and social
justice in every community across Britain.

Over
a quarter of a million more people joined Labour over the past eighteen months
they saw Labour has broken with the failed politics of the past and that they
could be part of a new project for real change: bold, confident and, yes, angry
too.

Because
who wouldn’t be angry?

When
they see people lying on trolleys in hospital corridors?

When
they see more and more people homeless on the streets?

When
they hear about a high street chain trying to pay young people in leftover
food?

When
huge numbers of Sure Start centres have closed under the Tories?

Or
when class sizes are rising – as the Tories divert funds to grammar schools for
a privileged few?

And
when social care for the elderly and disabled is in crisis – while the
super-rich and big business get tax giveaways worth £73 billion?

How can you not be angry and demand major change when
life expectancy projections have fallen in Britain for pensioners? We are a rich country, the
sixth richest in the world. We are not at war, there is no epidemic sweeping
our land.

But,
whether the Conservative Party chair can face the facts or not, life expectancy
has actually fallen – by a year for 65-year-old women and 6 months for
65-year-old men – since 2013.

The
truth is that the Tories are running our country down.

Home
ownership, opportunities for our children, wages and conditions at work, the
NHS, care for our elderly, and now, life expectancy: they’re all going
backwards, run down by a Conservative government that looks after those at the
top and manages decline for the rest of us.

Britain
is a wealthy country but you wouldn’t know it from the way people are held back
in their everyday lives – from making a home for themselves and their families,
building a career, pursuing their interests and ambitions.

Local
councils have made a huge difference to people’s lives – providing libraries
and leisure centres, schools, building houses, making sure the elderly have the
support they need.

But
since 2010 councils have seen their funding cut by 40%.

Over
ninety percent of councils are putting up council tax this year to try to
compensate for the huge cuts in the grant they get from government.

Meanwhile
police budgets are cut, social care budgets are cut, schools budgets are cut,
Sure Start centres are closed, libraries are closed , houses aren’t built.

Whole
communities are being held back and jobs, services and hope destroyed. But it
doesn’t have to be like this.

Labour
is standing up for you. In Westminster and in every community across the
country.

Labour
councils are making a difference across the country. Stepping up where the
Government fails to act.

Faced
with the growing housing crisis, Birmingham Council is delivering 30% of all
new homes in the city. And Lancashire County Council has formed a joint venture
to buy 800 affordable homes for sale and social rent.

Faced
with the crisis in social care 15 Labour councils have signed up to the Ethical
Care Charter for minimum standards of safety, quality and dignity of care and
improve pay and training for care workers. I signed it myself last week in
Blyth.

Faced
with so many people struggling to make ends meet Liverpool council is setting
up a not-for-profit energy company – “the Liverpool LECCy” – to sell gas and
electricity at a lower cost, building on what’s been done down the road in
Nottingham with Robin Hood Energy. And just west of here in Derbyshire the
Labour Council’s Welfare Rights Service has helped local people claim £18
million in benefits they otherwise would have lost.

Faced
with the Government’s failure to invest in our economy the ‘Nottinghamshire
Economic Development Capital Fund’ has lent £3.5 million to help more than 30
businesses secure good jobs in Nottinghamshire. And in Northumberland, the
council-owned Arch property business generates jobs and homes, as well as a
return of nearly £5m a year that supports council services like schools, roads
and social care. I was really pleased to visit their Blyth Workspace site last
week which offer huge opportunities.

Faced
with an epidemic of low pay 89 Labour councils have delivered the real Living
Wage for council employees and contractors to ensure better wages for local
people. I’m particularly proud that my own borough led the way on that.

These
are just a few examples of how Labour councils are standing up for you and why
you need Labour to be in power in towns, counties and city regions as well as
Westminster.

The
Conservatives justify tax cuts for the richest and big business by saying they
will lead to an increase in investment. But in fact investment has fallen,
leaving us with antiquated infrastructure and uncompetitive industries.

The
future of our country cannot be left to the free market and the whims of the
wealthy.

That
is why Labour will set up a national investment bank and regional development
banks – including our ‘Bank of the North’ – to help unlock £500 billion to fund
major capital projects and finance growth.

Our
plan will use public investment to build up new investment by the private
sector. It means creating hundreds of thousands of good quality jobs in
manufacturing and in green and other cutting-edge industries of the future.

As
every successful business knows, there’s nothing reckless about borrowing to
invest quite the opposite.

Investment
in infrastructure, skills, broadband and high speed rail generates growth and
tax revenues. It more than pays for itself. This is just what the Welsh Government
is doing with the launch of the Welsh Development Bank, which draws on 20 years
of Labour experience in power.

At
this crucial time we need to look to the future and ask ourselves what sort of
country we want Britain to be.

Theresa
May’s Government is trying to use Brexit to turn Britain into a low-wage tax
haven for big business.

We
are offering a real alternative that reflects the priorities of the majority of
our people to rebuild and transform Britain so that no one and no community is
left behind.

Instead
of a country run for the rich, we want to see one in which all of us can lead
richer lives.

A
Labour Government will end the rip-off on the railways and bring them into
public ownership.

Labour
will overturn the Government’s ban on council-owned bus companies as part of a
plan to put the public back into buses.

We’ll
stop the corporate tax cuts and make sure the tax dodgers pay their fair share.

We’ll
invest in our children’s education and skills for our workers.

We’ll
give six million people a pay rise by introducing a real living wage of at
least £10 an hour.

We’ll
reinstate nurses’ bursaries and give more people the chance to train to be
nurses, so that the sick get the care they need.

We’ll
invest in housing, building the homes our country needs, creating thousands of
good construction jobs and apprenticeships and allowing councils to borrow to
build council housing.

Together
we can create a Britain where each of us can lead richer lives investing in a
better Britain, creating educational opportunity for all, guaranteeing the
health and social care services you need, providing safer neighbourhoods and
building homes people can afford.

In
the coming weeks of this campaign Labour will be setting out more of our
policies to show how Labour will stand up for you.

This
election is your chance to send a message to the Tories: that you won’t accept
our NHS in crisis, your children’s future betrayed, a deepening housing crisis,
damaging cuts to the police and insecure jobs that don’t make ends meet.

It
doesn’t have to be like this. Things can and they will change.

So
use your vote for Labour on 4th May.

Ends