The chancellor has made clear this morning that the message remains the same – austerity will continue. The Tories have learnt nothing from the general election, and the last seven wasted years of economic failure. The Conservatives have no understanding of the depth of suffering, stress and insecurity their long austerity regime has caused.
And we have seen the chancellor again trying to distance himself from the position of his prime minister on Brexit. It just shows further disarray at the top of government. The fact that there is clearly such a serious split between Number 10 and 11 is very worrying and only helps to undermine our country ahead of the Brexit negotiations.
It further shows just how weak a position Theresa May is in. And raises the serious question of: how can she negotiate Brexit when her own chancellor is so publicly disputing her position on Brexit and briefing against his own cabinet colleagues?
The truth is that the government’s spin of over a “hard” or soft “Brexit”, is just a smokescreen to paper over the cracks of the divide at the very heart of this Tory government. The reality is that they are really planning a Brexit for the few by turning our county into a tax haven off the coast of Europe, which diminishes workplace rights and undermines working people’s living standards.
Labour has called from day one for the Chancellor to act on gaining assurances over our stake in the EIB [European Investment Bank], and it has taken him a year to raise a finger; and now he has, all he is offering businesses in our country in way of support to mitigate any risks from the loss of this resource is a drop in the ocean from the actual support they will really need.
John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, commenting on the Grenfell Tower fire, said:
“The tragic fire that occurred on Grenfell Tower must never be allowed to happen again. The lessons of Camberwell, Shepherds Bush and Southampton have not been learned, and it is the responsibility of government to provide solutions.
“The Government must now as a matter of urgency lift the housing revenue account borrowing cap to free councils to undertake the urgent retrofitting work required on all existing housing stock found not to meet required safety standards.
“Councils must also be given the power, as Labour’s housing manifesto pledges to do, to borrow to invest in council housing on the scale necessary to allow all those living in homes deemed to be unsafe to be properly rehoused.
“The next Labour Government will take any and all steps required to address the critical housing crisis in our country. Labour have pledged to invest to build over a million new homes over the course of the next parliament. Within five years, our manifesto commits to building at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely affordable rent or sale.”
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