It was great to be at Labour Party conference in Liverpool – it’s always good to catch up with old friends, listen to debate and to see CLP delegates from across the country debating Labour Party policy and helping influence our party manifesto that may be needed sooner, rather than later.
Conference once again shows us why we need a Labour government (not just to clean up the mess the Prime Minister is making of Brexit), the Tories are failing hard working families, real wages are still lower than what they were in 2010 and millions of working families are set to be worse off under Universal Credit. When in government Labour worked hard to end child poverty, since 2010 it has risen by over four million and the Institute for Fiscal Studies projects it will rise by a further million by the end of this Parliament.
We know it is Labour that will tackle these issues head on, it’s our party that will support work and create a social security system for the many, not the few. The next Labour government will end austerity and introduce a Real Living Wage of £10 an hour by 2020. Labour will pause and fix universal credit and implement a new Child Poverty Strategy. Labour will also lift the Tories’ freeze on social security support which is penalising families, to ensure people get the support they need.
Conference clearly heard Jeremy’s commitment to rebuild our public services: Years of austerity and privatisation have left our public services in crisis. Labour will rebuild our public services with new investment and properly paid staff. Labour will increase investment in the NHS and social care to tackle the crises caused by the Conservatives. Our party will stop the cuts to school budgets with a real terms increase in funding, introduce universal free school meals for primary school children and get class sizes down to under 30 for all 5, 6 and 7 year olds.
Right across conference I heard people commenting on these ideas, there was a buzz in fringe meetings about wanting the next general election to be sooner rather than later – as if we get the keys to number 10, we can sort the mess that Tories have created, the next Labour government has committed to putting an extra 10,000 police officers back on the streets in England and Wales. We must never underestimate the Tories, they crave power – but for all the wrong reasons. When a General Election is called, I will be standing ready with you to campaign once again in constituencies across Northumberland and Tyne and Wear, to show the difference our hard working Labour MPs makes. Our members, councillors and trade unionists are our greatest strength, the Shadow Foreign Secretary is on standby for the election to be called by the end of the year – if it is, we must do everything we can to rebuild and improve our public services and only Labour will deliver that change to benefit communities across our region and beyond.