Thursday 19 January 2017

Women are bearing the brunt of Government austerity measures - Jeremy Corbyn

David Hughes

Published 26/09/2015 | 20:20

Britain's leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn REUTERS/Toby Melville
Britain's leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn REUTERS/Toby Melville

Women are bearing the brunt of the Government's austerity measures, Jeremy Corbyn claimed as he warned the UK could not "cut our way to prosperity".

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He told the Labour women's conference he wanted to tackle "grotesque" inequality and protect public services.

On the eve of the formal start of his first Labour conference as leader, he vowed the party would "be a force for good, peace, human rights and justice around the world".

Mr Corbyn told the women's conference in Brighton he had a mandate to "toughen our opposition to austerity".

"Women are hit hardest by austerity," he said. "Whether it's cuts to tax credits, to child benefits, to refuges, to public services, to benefits for all or to adult social care, in all cases it is women who are hit the hardest.

"And so, within our economic development, we are not going to change our economy by hitting the poorest in our society, we are not going to cut our way to prosperity.

"Let's invest and grow our way to prosperity whilst eliminating or reducing the grotesque levels of inequality between the richest and the poorest in our society.

"So we will achieve things, not by loading students with more debt, demonising people on benefits or pandering to anti-migrant rhetoric but instead recognise the huge contribution made by people that have migrated and come to this country in the work they pay, the tax they pay and the contribution they make to our society."

Read more: New British Labour leader's support for a united Ireland branded 'unhelpful'

Mr Corbyn's comments came after shadow chancellor John McDonnell set out Labour's plan to support George Osborne's fiscal charter designed to guarantee "budget responsibility" in a bid to restore the party's economic credibility.

The Labour leader said the party had to say "austerity isn't inevitable, poverty isn't necessary, bad housing isn't a necessary part of modern Britain".

He added: "We have to develop strong policies about rebranding our society, rebranding our economy but, above all, empowering ordinary people."

Mr Corbyn said Labour had an opportunity to "shape our party, shape our community and move on to fantastic victories in the future".

Mr Corbyn will head straight from the party's conference to Scotland, scene of Labour's general election mauling, for a day of campaigning on Thursday.

The way Labour makes policies will be reviewed in an effort to involve the members and supporters who swept Mr Corbyn to the leadership.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said the leader wanted to hear the views of grassroots activists and the supporters who paid £3 to take part in the election.

"We see Jeremy's election as the party telling us they want more open and democratic politics," the spokesman said.

"We are launching a review of how we make policy and how we can make it more inclusive."

The review will be formally announced by shadow cabinet minister Angela Eagle at conference and will also look at the "use of technology" in the policy-making process.

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