Corbyn challenges May on the Budget – PMQs

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Corbyn Vs May Round Nine

On Wednesday 31 October, Prime Minister Questions, Corbyn laid waste to PM May regarding the budget and its failure to end austerity measures for policing, schools, benefit claimants and low-income households. The leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn asked about public service cuts in the Budget and tackled the topic of the benefits freeze.

He kicked off by making a statement about the lack of change in circumstances for public services in relation to the budget announcement this week. “Mr. Speaker, if I were a prison governor a local authority chief executive or a head teacher I would struggle to find much to celebrate in the budget I would be preparing for more difficult years ahead. Does the Prime Minister think that analysis is wrong?”

Theresa defended the public services spending in the budget, “actually if you look at what we set out on the budget we set out more money for schools we set out more money for prisons we have what we have set out in the budget is that austerity is indeed ending”

“Austerity is ending” is different from “Austerity is over” which was the tune she was dancing to only a month ago at her conference speech. It seems austerity is not over now but it might be ending…
She went on to announce “this budget is giving the NHS the biggest cash boost in its history”, We’ll leave this one in the capable hands of Peter Stefanovich…

Theresa May was tricked by Jeremy Corbyn when he revealed that his statement leading up to his first question was a quote for the Institute of Fiscal Studies. As he stated that “it was a broken promise budget and she knows it” Theresa May held her head down, buried into documents shaking her head.

Corbyn went on to mention violent crime rates rising, police numbers slashed and conviction rates down. He asked the PM “Why did the government fail to find a single penny for neighborhood policing in the budget?”

“Gentlemen, first of all, we did put extra money into counter-terrorism policing in the budget that was on top of the four hundred and sixty million pounds that’s been made available for policing this year that is in sharp contrast to what Labour was saying at the 2015 election when they said the police should take ten percent cuts.”

To use 2015 policies against Labour after a new leadership and massive change in direction along with a fully costed manifesto published for the 2017 election makes this response as useful as a chocolate teapot. In fact, current policy states that 10,000 more police officers will be employed under a Labour Government.

Corbyn stayed on track regarding police cuts “Mr. speaker this is just another example of the contempt in which the government holds police officers who said that? Not me; the Police Federation. No wonder the police Federation and police chiefs are taking the government to court over their pay.”

Moving on to schools Jeremy Corbyn highlighted funding cuts of 8% per pupil and quoted Phillip Hammond by mocking his “little extras” comment, asking if they were enough to end austerity in our schools?

Theresa May responded with the same old sound bite “overall per-pupil funding is being protected in real terms by this government”.

Tell that to the one thousand head teachers that marched to Downing Street in September to protest funding cuts at schools.

Corbyn reminded the house how schools have resorted to asking students and their parents for funds, that because of this “broken promised budget” head teachers will continue to write begging letters to parents.

Mr. Corbyn’s third question asked the PM if she could explain “why she chose not to end the benefits freeze for ten million households but instead brought forward a tax cut for high earners?”

Theresa May ignored the question and spoke about extra funding for Universal Credit. “We have put extra money into universal credit in the budget, what we see importantly is universal credit being a welfare reform that ensures that people are encouraged to get into the workplace.”

Jeremy stated the dire effects of the benefits freeze taking 1.5 billion from 10 million low and middle-income households. He informed the house that “a low-income couple with children will be 200 pounds worse off, for them, there is no end to austerity. Labour would have ended the benefits freeze.”

Jeremy Corbyn mocked Theresa May for a previous speech “The Prime Minister once claimed to be concerned about burning injustices, well that concerns fizzled out well, hasn’t it? This was Mr. Speaker, a broken promise budget, the Prime Minister pledged to end austerity at a party conference and the Chancellor failed to deliver, the cuts continue. Those on lower incomes will be worse off as a result of this budget, austerity has failed and needs to end now. Mr. speaker it’s very clear only Labour can be trusted to end austerity and end the cuts to those on lowest incomes and invest in our country.”

This was the part of PMQs where viewers became confused, whether it was the Prime Minister answering questions or whether it was a performance by the Parliaments choir. The conservatives side chanted in unison with their lying PM, soundbites that are now so rehearsed they all know the words.

 

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