Jeremy Corbyn blasted the Tories as “poverty deniers” today as he attacked the Government's record on poverty.
The new Labour leader hit out at the Government’s austerity plans in a speech at the TUC Conference in Brighton as he rejected claims he was a “deficit denier”.
Mr Corbyn received an enthusiastic response from delegates as he described himself as a “proud trade unionist” and vowed to repeal the current anti-strike legislation going through Parliament.
He also revealed a further 30,000 people had joined the Labour Party since his victory in the leadership contest was announced on Saturday.
Addressing delegates, Mr Corbyn said: “They call us deficit deniers. But then they spend billions cutting taxes for the richest families and for the most profitable businesses.
“What they are is poverty deniers. They are ignoring the growing queues at food banks, they are ignoring the growing housing crisis. They are 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 actually a political choice the Government has taken and they are imposing it on the most vulnerable and poorest in our society.”
Mr Corbyn focused much of his 20 minute address on the Trade Union Bill currently going through Parliament.
The Bill imposes tougher rules on how industrial action can be called, including ballot thresholds, and would allow agency workers to fill the roles of striking workers.
It would also require those on strike to notify the police of anything they plan to put on social media or blogs weeks ahead of the industrial action.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has described the Bill as “illiberal, unfair and unnecessary” and Tory MP David Davis compared parts of it to legislation put forward by Spanish dictator General Franco.
Mr Corbyn said today: “It’s interesting how the Tories champion deregulation wherever regulation is ever mentioned. How many times have we heard that? Ministers for deregulation, departments for deregulation, ministers who will tear up all regulations.
“But the one thing they really want to regulate is organised labour and the trade unions in this country. I think sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, don’t you?”
He delivered the speech in a similar fashion to those at his campaign meetings, in an off-the-cuff, if unrehearsed, manner.
Mr Corbyn stumbled over his words on a number of occasions, but despite his at times meandering style he still won enthusiastic applause from delegates.
UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis welcomed the speech and said: “Jeremy has 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 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.”