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Stephen Hepburn MP: Years of Tory austerity has left our public services on their knees

Labour promise to invest in new affordable homes. Picture by Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Labour promise to invest in new affordable homes. Picture by Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Too many parts of the country, including proud areas here on Tyneside, were kept back by eight years of crippling Tory austerity.

It’s why so many people are now sick and tired of the politically motivated Conservative assault on wages with people’s real annual pay-packets £800 lower than a decade ago and the sustained attacks on public services.

And it’s why Jeremy Corbyn’s message of hope draws huge crowds wherever he goes, including when Labour’s leader visited Jarrow.

Since the Tories stumbled back into power in 2010, they’ve failed on the cost of living and living standards while adding more to the national debt than Labour ever did.

Theresa May’s nose should be longer than Pinocchio’s after those fibs about ending austerity when the country’s still denied decent wage rises and three-quarters of welfare cuts, including hefty cuts for working families, are yet to hit us.

It’s why the country needs an effective opposition, a united Labour Party essential to fight against the wicked Tory attacks on working people.

Under Corbyn we’re the only political party that will give people a fair crack of the whip, restoring faith in our public services including the NHS and our schools.

Labour’s the mainstream when bringing our rail, water, gas, electricity services under public ownership and control to serve the people is hugely popular.

No more rip-offs, no more big price increases to fill the wallets of ‘Fat Cats’ and speculators in foreign corporations who prove the ultimate owners of the privatised parasites robbing us blind.

Under the Tories, jobs are at risk because the Conservatives have spent more time arguing with themselves than negotiating with Europe.

I promise you Labour would negotiate a Brexit deal that puts jobs and living standards first, with a new comprehensive UK-EU customs union and a new single market deal.

Workers’ real wages are still lower than where they were in 2010. That’s why Labour will introduce a Real Living Wage of £10 an hour by 2020 and will protect workers by guaranteeing no tax rises for 95 per cent of earners.

Britain is the most unequal country in Europe. Labour will invest in every part of our country through a network of Regional Development Banks, so that we create good, secure jobs in every community.

Home ownership, too, has fallen and homelessness doubled. Labour will invest in new affordable homes to rent and buy, building at least a million new homes, including 100,000 genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent a year.

I could go on. You want me to? OK. The Tories cut 21,000 police officers and crime is up – demonstrating you can’t keep people safe on the cheap. Labour will hire 10,000 extra police officers to keep people safe.

And don’t get me started on their crippling cuts to our public services, local authorities in our area seeing their funding cut by half since 2010.

Years of austerity have left our public services on their knees. Only a Labour government will rebuild our public services with new investment and properly paid staff.

I’m optimistic for our region’s future and our country’s future but only if we can force a General Election, boot the Tories out and get Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street.