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Jeremy Corbyn speaks to Labour North Conference


Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn addressed the Labour North Regional Conference in Newcastle on Saturday. 

Accusing the government on failing to deliver on their “Northern Powerhouse” promise, Jeremy Corbyn said:

“This is the threat in Tory Britain that Britain becomes a low investment, low skill, and low pay economy. While people’s talents and skills are wasted.

“Imagine the jobs that could be created the skills utilised and learned anew if the North East received 24 times more investment in transport infrastructure as London does.

“And that’s the problem the Tories talk about rebalancing the economy they talk about a Northern Powerhouse but it’s southern hot air.

“The government’s own figures show Osborne talks the talk, but he doesn’t walk the walk. When it comes to the Northern Powerhouse, Osborne’s just not delivering.

“Look closely at the government’s infrastructure ‘pipeline’ – and you find that only a fifth is actually in construction and most of the investment for those projects is going to London and the South East.

“Shockingly, the North East accounts for less than one per cent of the value of those infrastructure projects in construction. That’s not fair, and it’s letting down the people of the North East.

“The Tories fail to put in the resources they have slashed the funding for councils in the North less than a quarter of their infrastructure investment is in the North.

“And just last week it was revealed that 97 per cent of senior staff working on the Northern Powerhouse are based not in Sheffield or Leeds not in Manchester or Liverpool not even in Carlisle or here in Newcastle but in London.

“That just sums it up a Northern Powerhouse outsourced to London. There is only one party that stands up for the North of England and that is Labour.”

On the crisis in the NHS:

“Our NHS is at risk from this Government:

“A record deficit of £2.3 billion. Record spending on agency nurses because this Government is not training and employing enough.

“An unnecessary fight picked with junior doctors there is no dispute in Wales or in Scotland just in England under Tory control.

“And, over half of NHS Finance Directors say, levels of care have worsened in the last year.

“Labour cares and it invests in care. In Wales, where Labour is in power spending on health and social care is seven per cent higher per person than in England. That’s the difference Labour makes.”

On the economy:

“Just last month the OECD has downgraded its UK growth forecasts and told George Osborne it’s time to stop the austerity and invest in our country’s future.

“This confirms what our shadow chancellor John McDonnell and I have been saying since September. Austerity is a political choice not an economic necessity. Their cuts are both brutal and unnecessary.

“In 2010 they said that their ‘long-term economic’ plan would sort all this out that the deficit would be eradicated by now.

“Their long-term plan has turned out far longer than they imagined but subject to short-term revision when it fails again and again. It is a blueprint in deepest Tory blue to shrink the state to shrink people’s security, stability and opportunity.”

On Europe:

“We will be campaigning to keep Britain in Europe in the coming referendum because it brings investment, jobs and protection for British workers and consumers.

“But we will also be campaigning with our allies for reform and progressive change in Europe: for more democracy, jobs and sustainable growth, public ownership and workers’ rights – in other words, a real social Europe.

“The North East is the only part of Britain that still has a trade surplus and over half your region’s exports go to Europe. The good jobs and quality apprenticeships here in the North East make the case for staying in Europe.

“Let us be clear too taking benefits off low paid migrants won’t put a penny in the pockets of workers in Britain or stop the undercutting of UK wages through the exploitation of migrant workers.”

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