Corbyn slams “poverty denying” government

15 Sep 15

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne are “poverty deniers” who are ignoring the extent to which families are struggling across Britain.

In his first major speech as Labour leader to the Trades Union Congress, Corbyn said that the Conservatives had called Labour “deficit deniers”.

“But then they spend billions cutting taxes for the richest families or for the most profitable businesses,” he said.

"What they are is poverty deniers: ignoring the growing queues at food banks. Ignoring the growing housing crisis. Cutting tax credits when child poverty rose by half a million under the last government to over four million. Let's be clear, austerity is a political choice.”

Corbyn also told delegates at the conference in Brighton that he wanted to open up how the Labour Party made policy.

Setting out plans for a change from the system of top-down policymaking, he said digital technology made it easier to increase consultation on the party’s platform for the next election.

“I want everyone to bring their views forward, every union branch, every party branch, so we develop organically the strengths we all have, the ideas we all have, the imagination we all have,” he said.

“When we’ve all had a say in how we develop, say, the housing policy, the health policy... if everyone has been involved in that policy making, they own the policy that is there at the end. They are more determined to campaign and fight for it.”

Responding to the speech, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said Corbyn had “rekindled the spark of hope that has been dampened for so long, and given people a vision of what a fairer, more equal country could look like”.

He added: “He has shown there can be another way – a society where there is no austerity and falling living standards, but one with decent public services and fair pay for all.”

Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka said it was “refreshing and inspiring to see a Labour leader so in tune with trade unions and their six million members”.

He added: “Jeremy brilliantly addressed all the issues we have campaigned on, for an alternative to unnecessary and economically damaging spending cuts and an end to cruel cuts to living standards and social security.”

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