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Corbyn says Government does not understand 'cuts have their consequences'

Published 18/05/2016

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has warned the Government has yet to understand "cuts have their consequences" as he claimed it is continuing to fail Britain.

The Labour leader said the Conservatives have developed new policies in the Queen's Speech which prevent the creation of a more equal society and opportunity for all.

He added it continues the failings of previous years as he also criticised the Government's inability to meet its economic targets.

Replying to the Queen's Speech, Mr Corbyn said the Opposition will judge the Government's proposals against three tests - including whether it delivers a more equal society, an economy working for everyone and a society offering opportunity for all.

He said: "Sadly it appears that many of the proposals in the Queen's Speech militate against those aims, as have the proposals in previous years.

"Still this Government does not seem to understand that cuts have their consequences."

Mr Corbyn went on: "When you cut adult social care it has an impact on National Health Service accident and emergency departments.

"When you saddle young people with more debt you impede their ability to buy a home or start a family.

"When you fail to build housing and cap housing benefit then homelessness and the number of families in temporary accommodation increases.

"When you slash the budgets of local authorities then leisure centres close, libraries close, children's centres close.

"When you close fire stations and cut firefighters' jobs, then response times increase and more people are in danger of dying in fires.

"This austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity, and it's a wrong choice for our country made by a Government with the wrong priorities - and it's women that have been hit hardest by these cuts."

Mr Corbyn said the opportunities for women are "systematically reduced and diminished" by the cuts.

He added: "This Government is failing to deliver an economy that meets the needs and aspirations of the people that sent us here - a Government that is consistently failing to meet its own economic targets.

"They have failed on the deficit, failed on the debt, failed on productivity, failed to rebalance the economy."

Mr Corbyn said that "once again" the Northern Powerhouse was announced, adding "if only the rhetoric matched the reality".

He said: "For all the Chancellor's rhetoric, there has been systematic under-investment in the North."

House building, he argued, had sunk to its lowest level since the 1920s, adding: "And so out of touch are the benches opposite, they think £450,000 is what people can afford for a starter home."

Mr Corbyn said the announcement on Britain's digital infrastructure was welcome, saying perhaps "this time it will become a reality".

He said: "I point out to the Prime Minister, whether on the Northern Powerhouse, building homes, or investing in digital infrastructure, simply saying things does not make them happen, it takes commitment to fund them."

He added: "This Government is failing to deliver even on its own proposals, though often that is for the better."

Mr Corybn noted there was "no sign" of academies for all, adding: "Parents, governors, pupils, teachers and headteachers will be relieved to get final confirmation today that the wrong-headed proposals to impose forced academisation have finally been dumped."

Mr Corbyn said the Government had been forced to back down on a number of issues including tax credits, the Saudi prison deal, police cuts, cuts to Personal Independence Payments for the disabled, the solar tax, the tampon tax, Freedom of information, Sunday trading plus aspects of the Trade Union Bill and the Housing Bill.

He said: "To call it disarray would be generous, but that's without discussing the resultant black hole in the Government's finances."

Perhaps, he said, the "most worrying proposal of all" was the decision to try to seek to redefine poverty and deprivation.

He said: "You don't tackle poverty by moving the goalposts; poverty and inequality are collective failures of our society as a whole, not individual ones."

On current form he quipped "much of what Her Majesty announced today will not require her signature".

Mr Corbyn spoke against the proposal to repeal the Human Rights Act, saying: "We will defend our Human Rights Act as we defend the human rights of everyone in this country and indeed all those that benefit from the European Convention on Human Rights."

The main obstacle holding back the people of this country, he argued, was not the EU but "that Conservative Government".

The Tory Government, he claimed, was "displaying a very worrying authoritarian streak".

He said Labour was committed to replacing the House of Lords with a democratic chamber, adding democracy required accountability for decisions that were made.

The NHS was, he said, in "record deficit", but there was no legislation in the Queen's Speech on this issue.

Mr Corbyn attacked the decision to cut nurses' bursaries.

On the sugar tax, he said Labour would look favourably on proposals to tackle childhood obesity.

He welcomed the Government's "U-turn" on forced academisation, adding Labour hoped the Government would "get to grips with the £800 million being spent annually on supply teachers because of the recruitment and retention crisis in schools".

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