In my first speech in the Commons in 2010, I described the Government’s programme for massive, immediate cuts in public spending as “not new politics, but old economics”. I likened their plans to the 1930’s where spending cuts suppressed demand in the economy, killed investment and turned a global financial crash into a prolonged slump.
What happened after 2010? We know growth in the economy was snuffed out. And yes the Government made cuts, but they failed to deal with deficit or debt.
In 2010 the Tories pledged they’d balance the books by 2015. Yet today the deficit remains a staggering £80 billion. The Tories are now set to borrow £207 billion more than planned. Why? Because this is a recovery for a privileged few the government has built an economy based on low wages, part-time working and zero hours where tax revenues coming into the Exchequer have been woefully poor.
When George Osborne delivered his Budget, he wanted people to believe he had eased risky plans. He hasn’t. The independent experts at the Office for Budget Responsibility said this country is set for “a rollercoaster” of cuts with the Tories planning a “sharp acceleration” in spending cuts.
The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies said that Tory cuts in the next three years will be nearly double those in the last three. And that spending on public services, as a share of national income, will be at its lowest level since 1938. This can only put things like the NHS at risk.
Families across the country are £1,600 a year worse off since David Cameron became PM. Millionaires got a tax cut - how can that be right?
To help build a strong economic foundation we will balance the books and cut the deficit every year while securing the future of the NHS. We will work for higher living standards for working families by freezing energy bills until 2017, banning zero-hours.
We will place strong controls on immigration so that people who come won’t claim benefits for at least two years. We will introduce rules making it illegal for employers to only advertise jobs abroad and to undercut wages by exploiting workers.
We will build an NHS with 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs, join up services from home to hospital, and guarantee GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week.
We will build a country where the next generation can do better. We will reduce university tuition fees to £6,000, guarantee apprenticeships for every school leaver with basic grades, and ensure smaller class sizes for 5, 6 and 7-year-olds. I know how tough the last five years have been in South Yorkshire. We need a Britain that works for ordinary working people.