Corbyn attacks “unbalanced” economy

29 Sep 15

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the Conservative government’s policies have created an “unbalanced and unsustainable” economy that would leave Britain vulnerable to another downturn.

In his first major speech at Labour conference as leader, Corbyn told delegates in Brighton the party must develop proposals to challenge austerity and ensure the economy works for the many, not the few.

He said the values of fair play and solidarity were Labour values and majority British values.

“These values are what I was elected on – a kinder politics and a more caring society,” he said.

“They are Labour values and our country’s values. We are going to put these values back into the heart of politics in this country.”

Corbyn said Labour was now engaged in the work to develop policies across a host of areas, and would open up the party’s decision-making to members and registered supporters who had joined during the leadership campaign.

This would include putting investment in areas like housing at the heart of his approach, he said.

“The Tories’ austerity is the out-dated and failed approach of the past. So it’s for us, for Labour to develop our forward-looking alternative.

“At the heart of it is investing for the future.  Every mainstream economist will tell you that with interest rates so low now is the time for public investment in our infrastructure.”

Priority areas would include building council houses as well as a National Investment Bank and a Green New Deal to invest in renewable energy. This represented only way to a strong economic future for Britain, he told the conference.

“The shocks in the world markets this summer have shown what a dangerous and fragile state the world economy is in, and how ill-prepared the Tories have left us to face another crisis. It hasn’t been growing exports and a stronger manufacturing sector that have underpinned the feeble economic recovery. It’s house price inflation, asset inflation, more private debt,” the Labour leader said.

Corbyn also set out a number of other policy changes, including moves to make all schools, including academies and free schools, accountable to local government. He indicated the party’s policy review would examine the extension of welfare provision to the self-employed, including statutory maternity and paternity pay.

Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers welcomed the renewed commitment to local accountability in the schools system.

“State-maintained schools have been treated as the poor cousin by this government, with all attention paid to the academies and free schools programme,” he added.

“This despite there being no evidence that academy status in itself raises standards. The London Challenge, meanwhile, was proof that schools working together, in collaboration with the local authority, is the key to success.”

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