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Tory Austerity Is Failing - Real Change Is Needed

22/10/2017 23:55 BST | Updated 23/10/2017 13:51 BST
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The choice Britain faces in terms of our economy in the next period are stark and have been illustrated again and again by developments since Theresa May went back into Downing Street following the General Election.

The General Election campaign saw Labour take every opportunity to put forward a vision of hope and a better Britain, as crystallised in our Manifesto 'For the Many Not the Few.' Since then we have continued to put forward this positive message.

And just as they did during the General Election Campaign, the Tories have continued to pursue the politics of fear and division. Unlike Labour, the Tories are offering nothing to secure a more prosperous, more equal and more secure future.

Indeed, they are not even bothering to turn up for crucial parliamentary votes Labour has forced.

This week we voted on the need to pause the roll out of Universal Credit, which is forcing people into poverty, debt and even homelessness.

Labour wants a system that helps people out of debt, not further into it -- yet instead of calling it a failure, the Tories want to roll it out across the country, but weren't prepared to turn up and vote on it!

Last month it was votes on tuition fees and the pay cap in the NHS that they decided not to vote on in case they lost the votes.

These are vital issues that affect the livelihoods of millions of people, and the Tories are insulting the people of Britain by not turning out for these votes.

It seems that whilst Margaret Thatcher was not for turning- Theresa May is not for turning up.

And in some ways it is not surprising that the Tories don't want to have to vote in defence of their own austerity-driven policies.

With the Budget fast approaching, there is an ever-deepening consensus amongst business,

trade unions and the experts that Tory austerity has failed, even in its own terms, and a change of direction is required.

The CBI for example has said that the Chancellor needs to bring forward vital government investment in infrastructure and research, backed up by a real industrial strategy targeting high-potential sectors.

But instead of delivering this much needed investment, the Tories just offer more of the same.

In the Shadow Cabinet, I have a particular brief to defend the interest of young people and the stark choice represented between yet more failed Tory austerity as Theresa May's discredited Government clings on, or investment in our future to ensure robust and equitable economic growth with a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Government, will particularly effect younger people.

Continuing Tory austerity means high tuition fees, cuts to Further Education, continued age discrimination in the minimum wage and no action to tackle zero-hour contracts and other forms of insecure work that particularly effect younger workers.

In contrast, Labour believes that things don't have to be this way, that we can do better and we can restore people's faith in politics after the vicious cuts and broken promises of recent years.

We started to do this in the General Election with a record numbers of younger voters putting their faith in us, but that was only the beginning of the job of renewing faith in politics in this country to change people's lives for the better.

Only Labour will make sure that the opportunities for young people to stay in education, go to university, move out of the family home if they wish, and earn enough to live on are opportunities shared by the many, not the few.

But - as we saw with the bribe given to the DUP from the Tories' own 'magic money tree' - the 1% and the Tories will do everything they can to stay in power and stop Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister.

Therefore there is no room for complacency.

Every week the Tories stay in power means more people face wage cuts, deeper inequality and higher levels of poverty. So it's more vital than ever to keep hitting the Labour doorstep and build workplace and community opposition to failed austerity.