Thursday, April 27, 2017

UK Elections – Corbyn v May

Jeremy Corbyn accused the government of being “strong against the weak and weak against the strong” in a passionate pre-election Commons clash with PM Theresa May yesterday.

The Labour leader condemned ministers for worsening homelessness, underfunding the NHS, state pension swindles, reduction of education funding and stagnating wages.

During the last Prime Minister’s Questions before the general election on June 8, Mr Corbyn quoted letters that had been sent to him by the public about their personal experiences of growing inequality.

Mr Corbyn lambasted Ms May over having no housing strategy to deal with the growing crisis, quoting father-of-three Andy who wrote to the Labour leader to say his children — in their mid-twenties — couldn’t afford to leave home, despite working since leaving school.

He dismissed Ms May’s claim that the Tories had built more than double the council housing constructed by the last Labour government.

Mr Corbyn said that actually Labour had built more homes while also upgrading the condition of every council property while under the Decent Homes scheme.

The Tories have seen the lowest amount of homes built since the 1920s, rough-sleeping has more than doubled, social housing waiting lists continue to get longer and record numbers of tenants in the private sector cannot afford to pay their rent, he said.

Mr Corbyn went on to attack the Tories’ devastating cuts to education, quoting primary school teacher Laura who wrote to say the cash situation was so desperate, headteachers were forced to “beg” parents for money and raise funds themselves.

And when Mr Corbyn tackled the PM over the dire underfunding of the NHS, Ms May avoided the questions and hit out at Mr Corbyn’s character instead, repeating previous slurs.

The Labour leader also criticised her for refusing to take part in television election debates, opting instead to campaign in front of “hand-picked audiences who can’t ask questions.”

When Westminster leader of the SNP Angus Robertson asked about the government’s plans to scrap the triple-lock guarantee on state pensions — which Labour will protect — Ms May once again refused to directly answer.

Mr Robertson said: “Isn’t the message to pensioners that you cannot trust the Tories on your pensions?”

One in six pensioners live in poverty and more than six million retirees have a yearly income of less than £11,500, according to the National Pensioners Convention general secretary Jan Shortt.

She added: “The Conservatives clearly have no intention of keeping the triple lock on the state pension.

“Even with the triple lock, the increase in the state pension this month was just £3 a week — and even less for millions of older women.

“Our pensions are widely regarded as one of the lowest among the 34 countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and we still haven’t made up for the losses we suffered when the Thatcher government took away the link with earnings in 1980.

“It’s vital the triple lock stays or the gap between pensioners and the rest of society will once again widen.”

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