Jeremy Corbyn full speech at Labour’s Local Elections launch in Trafford
We’re here today in Trafford to launch Labour’s local election campaign. But before I do so, I want to talk about the terrorist attack in Westminster a year ago today when PC Keith Palmer was killed along with four others and more than 50 people were injured.
Later today I will attend a service in Westminster to remember the bravery of the police and to pay our respects to all those who died Aysha Frade, Kurt Cochran, Leslie Rhodes, Andreea Cristea and PC Keith Palmer.
On 3rd May there are elections in many towns and cities in England.
This year more than ever it is vital people vote Labour for a Labour council to protect and support your community.
On May 3rd people have the chance to send an unmistakable message to this government that enough is enough.
Enough of cuts to vital services that hurt local communities; enough of cuts to schools, hospitals and local policing; enough of library and youth centres closures; enough of leaving elderly and disabled people without essential care; and enough of failed privatisations that suck funds out of public services so a few can make a profit.
Over the last eight years, this Conservative government has cuts councils’ budgets in half one Conservative council has already gone bust.
In that same time, this government has slashed corporation tax, cut the bank levy, abolished the top tax rate on high earners and cut capital gains tax for the very richest.
Austerity is a political choice.
So when your children’s school is losing teachers and sending begging letters to parents or their youth centre is closed, that’s because the Conservative priority is tax breaks for big business.
And when your elderly relatives are neglected for lack of social care, that’s because the Conservatives want another tax giveaway for a few people at the top.
Decent people who have contributed all their lives have been turned into an item on a spreadsheet, sliced and diced into 15-minute units of care because of Conservative cuts and privatisation dogma.
It doesn’t have to be like this Labour in government would do things very differently.
And Labour councils across the country are doing things very differently right now.
Look at the number of Labour councils that are accredited as paying the living wage to all council staff and contractors. My own borough of Islington was one of the first in the country to do so.
And look across London, Conservative Wandsworth is not a living wage borough, but next door Labour Lambeth is. Tory Westminster is not but neighbouring Labour Camden pays the living wage.
And here in Greater Manchester just down the road, Salford Labour council is a living wage council but Conservative-led Trafford is not.
And with pay lower today than it was in 2010, we need local councils to be doing what they can to boost their local economies.
More and more people are finding it hard to make ends meet, bills are going up, and many young people can’t afford to move out of home or put enough by each month to save for a deposit.
Philip Hammond may have proclaimed “the light at the end of the tunnel”, but the stark reality was revealed by the government’s own official forecasts predicting “weak growth in real earnings and even weaker growth in real disposable incomes”.
Meanwhile the country’s housing crisis is deepening, it’s a crisis that has left 120,000 children in temporary accommodation without a home to call their own. That’s up two-thirds since 2010.
Homelessness has more than doubled and fewer people are able to afford to buy their own home.
It’s in response to this crisis that Birmingham Labour council has set up Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust to build more council houses. They have built around 2,500 new homes in the last three years, more than 20% of all new homes built in Birmingham since 2011.
But under this government, the number of new social rented homes being started has fallen from 40,000 with Labour to fewer than 1,000 last year.
Labour will build the homes people need and ensure developers build genuinely affordable housing.
Too often under the Conservatives, the essential things in life have been left to the market.
The collapse of private outsourcing companies like Carillion should have been a wake-up call for the government, but it’s Labour councils that are dealing with a crisis made in Downing Street.
Take Croydon, the Conservative council privatised the libraries and outsourced the workforce to Carillion. When Carillion collapsed it was the Labour council that saved the libraries and people’s jobs by bringing them back in-house.
Labour councils are clearing up the Tories’ mess time and time again, and acting as a human shield against damaging Conservative cuts.
It’s a different story when it comes to Conservative councils.
Northamptonshire bragged that it was pioneering an “easy-council” model. The Conservative council outsourced over 95% of its 4,000 staff. They were transferred to four new service providers, run like private companies with the payment of dividends.
Last month we learned the council had run out of money and its leader had resigned blaming the Conservative government. That’s not efficient management, it’s reckless gambling with people’s lives and the public services they rely on.
But this same slash-and-burn model is still being used by Barnet council also run by the Conservatives where Capita holds contracts with an estimated value of £500m.
Privatisation has failed to deliver on the railways, in the water companies and with energy too; people are paying more for less.
That’s what you get with the Tories you pay more for less so that their super-rich backers can take a cut for themselves.
It’s common sense that natural monopolies like water, energy and rail and public services should be there to serve us all not the profit margins of a few.
That is why Robin Hood Energy, an energy company set up by Nottingham Labour council is so important.
If we are serious about meeting our climate change goals, we need to allow councils to invest to tackle poor air quality and defend green spaces.
The energy companies have failed to invest in renewables and they’ve failed to keep energy bills affordable.
And again, it is Labour councils with their spirit of public enterprise and practical municipal socialism that are finding solutions even in the toughest of times.
And times are certainly tough for the councils trying to provide local services with half of their budget cut since 2010, and the ten most deprived council areas in England subjected to cuts higher than the national average.
What that means on the ground in local communities is that over 400 libraries have closed; more than 600 youth centres shut down; it means 1.2 million elderly people not getting the care they need and deserve; and many disabled people suffering the same indignity.
Last year 400 women were turned away from refuges because they simply didn’t have space many of those women fleeing with their children from violent homes.
In England alone, two women are killed every single week by a partner or an ex-partner. Finding safety in a women’s refuge can quite literally be a matter of life and death. Yet a fifth of all women’s refuges have been forced to close since 2010.
So when Theresa May talks about “burning injustices”, remember the reality her government is presiding over: more children growing up in poverty; life expectancy falling for the first time in living memory; our NHS in crisis with the number of GPs and nurses falling; crime up and 20,000 fewer police on our streets; more people forced to rely on food banks; and more than twice as many people sleeping rough on our streets.
Yet all the while the government has found billions of pounds in tax giveaways for the very richest and big business.
That’s Conservative Britain. And who is footing the bill?
Christine knows just one of the thousands of people who write to me every week. The police precept in Hampshire is going up by 7.3%, despite police cuts in her area. It’s the same message again pay more for less.
Police funding has fallen by one fifth since 2010; the thin blue line is getting thinner.
And the police inspectorate is today warning that 999 calls are sometimes not responded to for days and that some forces are so stretched that the lives of vulnerable people are being put at risk.
Empty shops suck the life out of high streets and local communities, and yet local businesses and shops that are the lifeblood of our communities and high streets will see their rates increase by over £3,000 even as basic services are cut.
The message from Theresa May’s government could not be clearer: pay more to get less under the Conservatives.
And ‘pay more for less’ is precisely the message from Conservative-run Leicestershire County Council where residents face £50 million of cuts this year and council tax increases of nearly 6%.
Their Conservative deputy leader of the council blamed “chronically low Government funding”.
Every day people see what the dilemmas facing local councils mean in practice.
As Edna, who wrote to me this week put it, “councils having to sell off artwork, close museums, sell off parks, close libraries to survive. The poor and middle classes are losing out on their quality of life.”
And it’s not just in Leicestershire, the Conservative leader of Surrey County Council said recently, “We are facing the most difficult financial crisis in our history. The government cannot stand idly by while Rome burns.”
But it is standing by and passing the buck to local councils.
On May 3rd there’s no need to stand by, no need to accept you have to pay more and get less, use your vote to send the message that ‘enough is enough’.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
After eight years of Conservative cuts, failed privatisations and falling living standards, it’s time for real change.
Labour will give dignity and support to those in need, rebuild our communities and transform our country for the many, not the few.
Labour Press statement June 3
Conservatives’ campaign chaos as extent of millionaire donations revealed
The Conservatives election campaign is in chaos as the extent of their millionaire-backing is revealed, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn says today.
In the latest in a string of errors and about-turns, Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon’s pledge that people would pay no more tax under the Tories was immediately contradicted by Theresa May, who refused to rule out a tax hike on working people, through rises in income tax or higher National Insurance contributions.
The Tories were already reeling from the chaos and confusion over their plans for social care and where they would set the cap they originally said they had rejected, and were forced to withdraw their school breakfasts policy after it was exposed they had only set aside 6.8p per meal.
The threat of further Tory tax rises on working people comes as it was revealed just 49 individuals have donated more than a third of all Tory party funding since Theresa May became Prime Minister.
In contrast, Labour’s manifesto clearly commits to no income tax, National Insurance or VAT rises for 95 per cent of taxpayers, with big businesses and those paid more than £80,000 a year asked to pay a bit more to reverse years of underinvestment in our NHS, schools and other public services.
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Leader, said:
“First social care and school breakfasts, now the Tories are in chaos over their tax plans for the super-rich, as it is revealed they are entirely dependent on them for their funding. While Michael Fallon claims there will be no tax rises, Theresa May refuses to rule them out. You can’t trust a word the Tories say.
“Labour is the low tax party for the many while the Conservatives are the low tax party for the few. We won’t raise taxes for 95 per cent of taxpayers but will ask high earners and big businesses to pay a little more so we can give nurses and other public servants a pay rise, and invest in the public services we all rely on.”
Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s Joint National Campaign Co-ordinator, said:
“The Tories are bankrolled by millionaire bankers, tycoons and hedge fund bosses – the very people they’ve given tax breaks to while everyone else pays more. In contrast, Labour is funded by thousands and thousands of people making small donations because they want a better society for everyone.
“Labour’s plans are fully costed and fully set out in our manifesto for everyone to see. The only numbers in the Tory manifesto are the page numbers. The wheels are coming of the Conservatives’ election campaign, with Theresa May hiding from the public, refusing to debate Jeremy Corbyn, and backsliding on social care, NHS and schools funding, and now their tax plans.”
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell writes in the Labour Briefing:
WE HAVE TO ALERT PARTY MEMBERS and supporters that the soft coup is underway. It’s planned, co-ordinated and fully resourced. It is being perpetrated by an alliance between elements in the Labour Party and the Murdoch media empire, both intent on destroying Jeremy Corbyn and all that he stands for.
The coup is not being waged up front in public but strictly behind the scenes.
Having learned the lesson of the last coup attempt - that a direct attack on Jeremy and his policies will provoke a backlash from many party members - the coup perpetrators are this time round pursuing a covert strategy.
The aim of these covert coup plotters is to undermine the support Jeremy has secured among Labour Party members, and also importantly to undermine support from Labour voters. Undermining support for Jeremy from Labour voters is important to the plotters because their objective is to ensure Jeremy trails in the polls and can’t win elections.
In this way they can destroy morale among party members and their confidence in him.
The tactics include daily and constant behind-the-scenes non-attributable briefings against Jeremy and his Shadow Cabinet every time he or his shadow ministers make a statement, intervene in Parliament or launch a policy.
The plotters use every opportunity to chip away at Jeremy’s standing to seek to demean him and undermine support for him in the Labour Party and among Labour supporters.
This constant barrage of negative briefings also crowds out any positive initiatives or narrative from Jeremy and his team. It also feeds and confirms in the public’s mind that the Labour Party is split.
The plotters are effective in distorting the media coverage because they have extensive contacts and allies in the media, many inherited from Mandelson’s days.
The professional planning of interventions in which attacks to undermine Jeremy are framed evidences an exceptionally well resourced ‘dark arts’ operation of the old spin school. The coup plotters are willing to sacrifice the Party at elections just to topple Jeremy and prevent a socialist leading the Party. It is more important to them that they regain control of the Party than it is to win elections.
The irony is that they are willing to go so far in denigrating Jeremy that they endanger their own parliamentary seats and endanger the very existence of the party they want to use to get into power. We saw the methods they use with the leaking of the Party’s internal polling. This was a carefully planned and executed operation.
Let’s use it as a case example.
Both quantitative and qualitative polling is undertaken by the Party regularly under the direction of Jon Trickett, the Party’s National Campaign Co-ordinator. Jon arranged for one focus group to be carried out by the Party’s polling agency in Manchester to assess how our frontbench members appearing on television programmes at the time were being perceived in the north west.
This polling took place back in November and its results were only accessible to a small number of party officials, Jon Trickett and the polling agency.
To this day I have still not seen the results.
The polling was leaked by someone to James Lyons, a Times journalist who has regularly received leaks from within the Labour Party - usually used to attack Jeremy and his team.
The Murdoch media had already run earlier in the week fake news stories in The Times and Sun alleging that Jeremy was planning to stand down as leader of the Party.
No matter how many times it was explained that this story was completely untrue and absolute fiction, the The Times and Sun continued to run it - and the BBC and other broadcast media took it up and reported it extensively. The media then invented the story that the polling on the perception of Shadow Cabinet members in the north west was the Party testing the perceptions of potential successors to Jeremy.
This was a classic negative story framing and transmission exercise. It is just one example of what we confront on a weekly and at times almost daily basis. It is vitally important that our supporters understand and appreciate what we are facing. What we are experiencing is completely predictable and expected. Spreading that understanding of what we are up against enables us all to organise how we can fight back and overcome the soft coup strategy.
We all have an important role to play in explaining what we are facing and how, by standing together, we can defeat the plotters again.
This is the testing time for the Corbyn transformation.
The challenges are great and the times are tough - but we all know that this is the socialist opportunity of a lifetime.
Wednesday February 8, 2017
Clive Lewis to step down from shadow cabinet
Clive Lewis MP, commenting on stepping down from the shadow cabinet said:
“When I became the MP for Norwich South, I promised my constituents I would be ‘Norwich’s voice in Westminster, not Westminster’s voice in Norwich’. I therefore cannot, in all good conscience, vote for something I believe will ultimately harm the city I have the honour to represent, love and call home.
“It is therefore with a heavy heart that I have decided to resign from the shadow cabinet.
“It has been a privilege to work with Jeremy Corbyn and be part of the shadow cabinet. I will continue to support our party and our leader from the back benches to the very best of my ability.”
Jeremy Corbyn MP, commenting on Clive Lewis standing down from the shadow cabinet, said:
“I would like to thank Clive for his work in the shadow cabinet, which has underlined what an asset he is to the Labour Party and our movement.
“I understand the difficulties MPs representing constituencies which voted Remain have in relation to the European Union Withdrawal Bill. MPs have a duty to represent their constituents as well as their party.
“However, the Labour Party respects the outcome of the EU referendum, so we have asked all Labour MPs to vote for the Bill at its third reading tonight.
“We have been clear from the start that Labour will not frustrate the triggering of Article 50, which represents the start of the process for leaving the EU.
“Labour will use every opportunity to hold the government to account and protect jobs, rights and living standards at every stage of the negotiations.
“I wish Clive well and look forward to working with him in the future.”"
Thursday Mr Corbyn announced the following shadow cabinet appointments;
Jennie Formby: Labour's new general secretary