Jeremy Corbyn – 2018 Passover Message

Below is the text of the Passover message issued by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, on 30 March 2018.

Passover is a time to celebrate a journey from oppression to freedom.

We remember all our Jewish brothers and sisters, who have battled against discrimination and faced the most horrific acts of violence and mass murder.

This year marks 75 years since a group of Jewish partisans in Warsaw, on the first night of Passover, discovered that the Nazis intended to destroy their ghetto.

They decided to stay and fight, holding out against the Nazi war machine for a month.

We think also about rising levels of anti-Semitism around the world.

In Poland, the government has passed laws making it illegal to acknowledge Polish complicity in the Holocaust. They have frozen the law that returns property looted by Nazis to Holocaust survivors.

In France, the neo-fascist National Front is on the rise and just days ago 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mirielle Knoll was brutally stabbed to death in an anti-Semitic attack. In the US too, we see the far-right extremists gathering support for their hateful ideology.

It is easy to denounce anti-Semitism when you see it in other countries, in other political movements. It is sometimes harder to see it when it is closer to home.

We in the labour movement will never be complacent about anti-Semitism.

We all need to do better.

I am committed to ensuring the Labour Party is a welcoming and secure place for Jewish people.

And I hope this Passover will mark a move to stronger and closer relations between us and everyone in the Jewish community.

In the fight against anti-Semitism, I am your ally and I always will be.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2018 Response to the Salisbury Attack Statement

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, in response to the Prime Minister’s statement on the Salisbury attacks, on 15 March 2018.

I thank the Prime Minister for advance sight of her statement and echo her words about the service of our emergency and public services.

The attack in Salisbury was an appalling act of violence. Nerve agents are abominable if used in any war. It is utterly reckless to use them in a civilian environment. This attack in Britain has concerned our allies in the European Union, NATO and the UN, and their words of solidarity have strengthened our position diplomatically. Our response as a country must be guided by the rule of law, support for international agreements and respect for human rights. When it comes to the use of chemical weapons on British soil, it is essential that the Government work with the United Nations to strengthen its chemical weapons monitoring system and involve the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.​

The Prime Minister said on Monday:

“either this was a direct act by the Russian state…or the Russian Government lost control of their potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”—[Official Report, 12 March 2018; Vol. 637, c. 620-21.]

Our response must be decisive, proportionate and based on clear evidence. If the Government believe that it is still a possibility that Russia negligently lost control of a military-grade nerve agent, what action is being taken through the OPCW with our allies? I welcome the fact that the police are working with the OPCW.

Has the Prime Minister taken the necessary steps under the chemical weapons convention to make a formal request for evidence from the Russian Government under article IX(2)? How has she responded to the Russian Government’s request for a sample of the agent used in the Salisbury attack to run their own tests? Has high-resolution trace analysis been run on a sample of the nerve agent, and has that revealed any evidence as to the location of its production or the identity of its perpetrators?

Can the Prime Minister update the House on what conversations, if any, she has had with the Russian Government? While suspending planned high-level contacts, does she agree that is essential to retain a robust dialogue with Russia, in the interests of our own and wider international security?

With many countries speaking out alongside us, the circumstances demand that we build an international consensus to address the use of chemical weapons. We should urge our international allies to join us in calling on Russia to reveal without delay full details of its chemical weapons programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It is, as we on the Labour Benches have expressed before, a matter of huge regret that our country’s diplomatic capacity has been stripped back, with cuts of 25% in the last five years. It is—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker

Order. The right hon. Gentleman must be heard. There will be adequate opportunity for colleagues on both sides of the House to put questions. Members must be heard.

Jeremy Corbyn

I could not understand a word of what the Foreign Secretary just said, but his behaviour demeans his office.

It is in moments such as these that Governments realise how vital strong diplomacy and political pressure are for our security and national interest. The measures we take have to be effective, not just for the long-term security of our citizens but to secure a world free of chemical weapons. Can the Prime Minister outline what discussions she has had with our partners in the European Union, NATO and the UN and what willingness there was to take multilateral action? While the poisonings of Sergei and Yulia Skripal are confronting us today, what efforts are being made by the Government to reassess the death of Mr Skripal’s wife, Liudmila, who died in 2012, and the deaths of his elder brother and son in the past two years?

We have a duty to speak out against the abuse of human rights by the Putin Government and their supporters, both at home and abroad, and I join many others in this House in paying tribute to the many campaigners in Russia for human rights, justice and ​democracy in that country. We must do more to address the dangers posed by the state’s relationship with unofficial mafia-like groups and corrupt oligarchs. We must also expose the flows of ill-gotten cash between the Russian state and billionaires who become stupendously rich by looting their country and subsequently use London to protect their wealth. We welcome the Prime Minister today clearly committing to support the Magnitsky amendments and implementing them as soon as possible, as Labour has long pushed for.

Yesterday Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian exile who was close friends with the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky, was found dead in his London home. What reassurances can the Prime Minister give to citizens of Russian origin living in Britain that they are safe here?

The events in Salisbury earlier this month are abominable and have been rightly condemned across the House. Britain has to build a consensus with our allies, and we support the Prime Minister in taking multilateral and firm action to ensure that we strengthen the chemical weapons convention and that this dreadful, appalling act, which we totally condemn, never happens again in our country.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2018 Speech on Britain After Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, on 26 February 2018.

Thank you Rebecca for that introduction and thank you all for being here today.

It’s great to be speaking here in Coventry, which has long been at the core of Britain’s industrial heartland and is now set to be our next city of culture.

Next month, the government will embark on the second and most crucial phase of negotiations to leave the European Union to set the terms of Britain’s relationship with the EU for the long-term.

We are now 20 months on from the referendum that voted to leave and a year on from the triggering of Article 50.

But the country is still in the dark about what this divided Conservative government actually wants out of Brexit. They can’t agree amongst themselves about what their priorities are or what future they want for Britain after Brexit.

They’ve got no shortage of soundbites and slogans of course.

The Foreign Secretary says it will be “a liberal Brexit”, the Prime Minister says it will be a “red white and blue Brexit”, or on other days it’s a “bespoke economic partnership”.

The Brexit Secretary at least now promises it won’t be “a Mad Max-style dystopia”, which you might think was setting the bar a little bit low.

While the Trade Secretary can’t contain himself at the prospect of pushing Britain into a spiral of deregulation in rights and standards and the cabinet seems to have agreed at Chequers to leave the door open to that with their “ambitious managed divergence”, whatever that means.

But the truth is we really don’t know much more about where they’re actually heading in these talks.

While workers, businesses and everyone who voted in the referendum just want to know what the government’s approach to Brexit is likely to mean for their future and the future of the country.

As the Opposition, we have been trying to hold this government to account. Our message has been consistent since the vote to leave 20 months ago. We respect the result of the referendum.

Our priority is to get the best deal for people’s jobs, living standards and the economy. We reject any race to the bottom in workers’ rights, environmental safeguards, consumer protections or food safety standards.

And we’ve pushed the government to act to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living here and of UK citizens who have made their homes elsewhere in Europe; to ensure a transition period on the existing terms; to minimise disruption and avoid an economic cliff edge; to avoid any return to a hard border in Northern Ireland; and to guarantee Parliament a meaningful vote on the final deal.

This Conservative government has dithered and delayed. Their divisions, their incompetence and their deregulation obsession risk putting jobs and living standards at risk as we leave the EU.

This is an economy that has already been damaged by eight years of Conservative austerity, where wages are still lower today than they were a decade ago, where productivity lags dangerously behind the other major economies, where the government has failed to invest and modernise, where more people are living in poverty. And where closing the deficit, that was due to be eradicated by 2015, then 2016, then 2017, then 2020 has now had to be put back to 2025.

After years of Tory bluster and, the Conservatives have been found out. They have no economic plan and they have no Brexit plan.

Every so often they wheel out Boris Johnson to promise once more that they’ll cough up more money for the NHS after Brexit. But they’ve spent the last 8 years not giving more money to the NHS.

Even while they’ve been able to find billions of pounds to cut taxes for the richest corporations, to cut capital gains tax for the super-rich elite and to scrap the 50% rate for the richest too, and found billions more to cut inheritance tax on the wealthiest estates and to slash the bank levy.

Yet the NHS has been subjected to the longest financial squeeze in its history. This is a government that’s failed our NHS, pre-Brexit and during Brexit. And it certainly can’t be trusted with the NHS post-Brexit either.

Labour will give the NHS the resources it needs, because we will raise tax on the top 5% and big business, those with the broadest shoulders to pay. Not by making up numbers and parading them on the side of a bus.

And we will use funds returned from Brussels after Brexit to invest in our public services and the jobs of the future, not tax cuts for the richest.

Today, I want to set out Labour’s approach to Brexit in more detail. How we would do things differently, what our priorities are for the Brexit negotiations and the values that underpin them.

The first is our overriding mission: that whatever is negotiated must put people’s jobs and living standards first. The Brexit process must not leave our people and country worse off.

We are committed to building a more prosperous and a more equal Britain, in which every region benefits and no community is left behind, as we set out in our manifesto. And that is what underpins our approach to Brexit.

The second is unity. Most people in our country, regardless of whether they voted leave of remain want better jobs, more investment, stronger rights and greater equality.

So we will not let those who want to sow divisions drive this process. No scapegoating of migrants, no setting one generation against another and no playing off the nations of the UK.

No one should be willing to sacrifice the Good Friday Agreement, the basis for 20 years of relative peace, development and respect for diversity in Northern Ireland.

The third is our global perspective. We are leaving the European Union but we are not leaving Europe. We are not throwing up protectionist barriers, closing the borders and barricading ourselves in. And we want a close and cooperative relationship with the whole of Europe after Brexit.

We are internationalists. We know that our interests are bound up with millions of others across the world, whether that’s in order to tackle the huge challenge of climate change, build a more peaceful world or clamp down on the tax dodging elite, who think by bestriding the globe they can avoid paying their share for vital public services.

I want to address each of these principles today because together they define Labour’s approach to Brexit the Labour Party’s values and what the next Labour government will seek to deliver in office.

So many of the areas that voted to Leave are the same areas that have lost out from years of chronic under-investment.

Areas where too many people are held back by a lack of opportunities, where people feel the system is rigged against them because they can’t get a decent secure job, can’t afford to buy a home, can’t get more hours or higher pay, can’t afford to retire or aren’t able to escape the spiral of debt.

Labour’s priority is to get the best Brexit deal for jobs and living standards to underpin our plans to upgrade the economy and invest in every community and region. To shift it away from the low pay, low skill, low investment economy it has become. And rebalance that investment across the whole country so that no longer will some regions get a mere one-sixth of the investment that goes to London.

That is why Labour wants a Brexit for all our people. One that offers security to workers in the car industry worried about their future, hope to families struggling to pay the bills each month and opportunity to young people wanting a decent job and a home of their own.

Those are the people we are thinking of and working for. It is a different story around the away day table at Chequers.

The government seems much more concerned about cutting deals with each other and for their friends and funders in the City.

Labour is looking for a Brexit that puts the working people first. Leaving the EU, whenever that exit date comes, risks delivering a shock to the UK economy unless the right plans and protections are in place to allow the kind of investment and economic transformation programme that the country needs and that Labour is committed to.

For 45 years our economy has become increasingly linked into the European Union. Many of our laws and regulations are set and monitored by joint European authorities, from implementing rules on use of pesticides to assessing the levels of fluoride in our drinking water.

The European Food Safety Authority plays a vital role in monitoring the substances used in manufacturing or growing our food using the latest scientific evidence to assess whether substances are likely to have harmful effects on human or animal health. While the European Chemicals Agency carries out the vital task of evaluating and authorising chemicals as safe for use.

And many businesses have supply chains and production processes, interwoven throughout Europe. Take the UK car industry, which supports 169,000 manufacturing jobs, 52,000 of which are here in the West Midlands.

If we look at the example of one of Britain’s most iconic brands in this sector, the Mini, we begin to see how reliant our automotive industry is on a frictionless, interwoven supply chain.

A mini will cross the Channel three times in a 2,000-mile journey before the finished car rolls off the production line. Starting in Oxford it will be shipped to France to be fitted for key components before being brought back to BMW’s Hams Hall plant in Warwickshire where it is drilled and milled into shape.

Once this process is complete the mini will be sent to Munich to be fitted with its engine, before ending its journey back at the mini plant in Oxford for final assembly.

If that car is to be sold on the continent then many of its components will have crossed the Channel four times.

The sheer complexity of these issues demand that we are practical and serious about this next stage.

I want to pay tribute to Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey, Barry Gardiner and Emily Thornberry, who are grappling with these issues.

They are a serious and united team. Now you know I don’t do personal but let me simply say this: that is in some contrast to their opposite numbers.

It makes no sense for the UK to abandon EU agencies and tariff-free trading rules that have served us well, supporting our industrial sectors, protecting workers and consumers and safeguarding the environment.

If that means negotiating to support individual EU agencies, rather than paying more to duplicate those agencies here then that should be an option, not something ruled out because of phoney jingoistic posturing.

So we will want to remain a part of agencies like Euratom, regulating nuclear materials in energy and health sectors and programmes like Erasmus that give students opportunities to study across Europe, because they serve our interests.

We are leaving the European Union but we will still be working with European partners in the economic interests of this country.

When 44% of our exports are to EU countries and 50% of our imports come from the EU, then it is in both our interests for that trade to remain tariff-free.

It would damage businesses that export to Europe and the jobs that depend on those exports for there to be the additional costs of tariffs and it would damage consumers here, already failed by stagnant wages and rising housing costs.

So we will remain close to the European Union, that’s obvious.

Every country, whether it’s Turkey, Switzerland, or Norway that is geographically close to the EU, without being an EU member state has some sort of close relationship to the EU. Some more advantageous than others.

And Britain will need a bespoke, negotiated relationship of its own.

During the transition period, Labour would seek to remain in a customs union with the EU and within the single market. That means we would abide by the existing rules of both.

That is so the government, businesses and workers only have to make one adjustment, from the current situation to the final terms.

Labour spelled out the need for a stable transition period last summer. Both the TUC and CBI agree. We thought the government had accepted that case but they now seem to be in disarray on the issue again.

Time after time with this government, anything agreed at breakfast is being briefed against by lunch and abandoned by teatime.

Disarray is, it seems, the new ‘strong and stable’.

And the government’s muddle and division risk two costly adjustments for both government and businesses from the current terms to the transition terms and then again to the final terms.

Labour would seek a final deal that gives full access to European markets and maintains the benefits of the single market and the customs union as the Brexit Secretary, David Davis promised in the House of Commons, with no new impediments to trade and no reduction in rights, standards and protections.

We have long argued that a customs union is a viable option for the final deal. So Labour would seek to negotiate a new comprehensive UK-EU customs union to ensure that there are no tariffs with Europe and to help avoid any need for a hard border in Northern Ireland.

But we are also clear that the option of a new UK customs union with the EU would need to ensure the UK has a say in future trade deals.

A new customs arrangement would depend on Britain being able to negotiate agreement of new trade deals in our national interest.

Labour would not countenance a deal that left Britain as a passive recipient of rules decided elsewhere by others. That would mean ending up as mere rule takers.

In contrast the Conservative government has moved from saying it wanted trade with the EU after Brexit to be “tariff-free” to saying it wants trade to be “as tariff-free as possible”.

In which sectors of the economy and industry does the government think it would be acceptable for there to be tariffs? Like with so much else, they haven’t spelled that out.

But that is the consequence of ruling out the option of a customs union, which this government has done.

So I appeal to MPs of all parties, prepared to put the people’s interests before ideological fantasies, to join us in supporting the option of a new UK customs union with the EU, that would give us a say in future trade deals.

Labour respects the result of the referendum and Britain is leaving the EU. But we will not support any Tory deal that would do lasting damage to jobs, rights and living standards.

Some seem very keen on downgrading our trading links with Europe. But we do not believe that deals with the US or China, would be likely to compensate for a significant loss of trade with our trading neighbours in the EU, and the government’s own leaked assessments show that.

Both the US and China have weaker standards and regulations that would risk dragging Britain into a race to the bottom on vital protections and rights at work.

And Labour is implacably opposed to our NHS or other public services being part of any trade deal with Trump’s America or a revived TTIP-style deal with the EU, which would open the door to a flood of further privatisations.

And we are not prepared to ask the British public to eat chlorinated chicken and lower the standards of British farming.

We would ensure there will be no reduction in rights, standards or protections and instead seek to extend them.

A deregulatory race-to-the-bottom would damage people’s jobs and living standards.

And Labour would negotiate a new and strong relationship with the single market that includes full tariff-free access and a floor under existing rights, standards and protections.

That new relationship would need to ensure we can deliver our ambitious economic programme, take the essential steps to intervene, upgrade and transform our economy and build an economy for the 21st century that works for the many, not the few.

Labour has set out how we would create a National Investment Bank to drive investment in every community through a network of regional development banks so that every area has an industrial strategy, based on investment in a high skill, high wage and high productivity economy

And through our £500 billion National Transformation Fund we would invest in a decade-long programme of renewal so that Britain has the infrastructure that matches, if not exceeds, that of other major economies.

In our transport networks, our energy markets and our digital infrastructure, too often Britain lags behind.

So we would also seek to negotiate protections, clarifications or exemptions where necessary in relation to privatisation and public service competition directives state aid and procurement rules and the posted workers directive.

We cannot be held back inside or outside the EU from taking the steps we need to support cutting edge industries and local business, stop the tide of privatisation and outsourcing or from preventing employers being able to import cheap agency labour to undercut existing pay and conditions.

It was alarming that after the Brexit vote there was a clear rise in xenophobic and racist attacks on our streets.

The referendum campaign was divisive and some politicians on the Leave side whipped up fears and division in order to further their cause that built on the shameful vans telling immigrants to ‘Go Home’ that the then Home Secretary instructed to trundle round the country stirring up division.

I remember just after the referendum result receiving a text from a young person in my constituency who had been subjected to abuse in the street for the first time and who was afraid.

Our immigration system will change and freedom of movement will as a statement of fact end when we leave the European Union.

But we have also said that in trade negotiations our priorities are growth, jobs and people’s living standards. We make no apologies for putting those aims before bogus immigration targets.

Labour would design our immigration policy around the needs of the economy based on fair rules and the reasonable management of migration.

We would not do what this government is doing, start from rigid red lines on immigration and then work out what that means for the economy afterwards.

As Diane Abbott, our Shadow Home Secretary, set out last week, “We do not begin with, ‘how do we reduce immigration?’, and to hell with the consequences. Those are Tory policies and Tory values”.

Part of the reason why net migration has been relatively high in recent years is because of skills shortages in the UK labour market.

At the general election, Labour set out plans to invest in a National Education Service with free college and university training to tackle those shortages.

People do feel frustrated when they are denied opportunities to re-train or improve their skills and employers instead import skilled labour from abroad.

We will also restore free ESOL courses so that people who come here whether as migrants or refugees can learn English and fully participate in their communities and workplaces.

We also set out how we would tighten labour market regulations and strengthen trade union rights to tackle the insecurity and exploitation of all workers.

When migrant workers come to Britain, they must not be exploited or used to undercut or suppress better working conditions or higher pay. Those issues can only be tackled by stronger employment law.

To stop employers being able to import cheap agency labour to undercut existing pay and conditions, collective agreements and sectoral bargaining must become the norm. Labour stands for ‘the rate for the job’, not ‘a race to the bottom’.

But let’s also be crystal clear it is not migrants that drive down wages, it is bad employers that cut pay and bad governments that allow workers to be divided and undermined, and want unions to be weak and passive.

We will strengthen our employment law invest in the skills of workers in Britain so they can progress, and we will oppose all those who instead of seeking to solve problems seek to scapegoat instead.

The devolution of the last Labour government completed the peace process in Northern Ireland, which we must cherish. The Good Friday Agreement was a great achievement and I pay tribute to the work done by Tony Blair, Mo Mowlam and all sides in Northern Ireland to secure that Agreement.

We must continue to support the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly and to ensure we maintain the situation of no hard border in Northern Ireland.

The previous Labour government also brought powers closer to home in Scotland and Wales establishing the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.

And so, Labour believes that powers over devolved policy areas currently exercised by the EU should go directly to the relevant devolved body after Brexit, so that power is closer to the people.

That is the same principle that informs the regional development banks that the next Labour government will deliver.

The constitution of the Labour Party includes a commitment to support the United Nations.

A promise “to secure peace, freedom, democracy, economic security and environmental protection for all” Some want to use Brexit to turn Britain in on itself, seeing everyone as a feared competitor.

Others want to use Brexit to put rocket boosters under our current economic system’s insecurities and inequalities, turning Britain into a deregulated corporate tax haven with low wages, limited rights, and cut-price public services in what would be a destructive race to the bottom.

Labour stands for a completely different future drawing on the best internationalist traditions of the labour movement and our country.

We want to see close and cooperative relationships with our European neighbours, outside the EU based on our values of internationalism, solidarity and equality, as well as mutual benefit and fair trade.

We are proud that Britain was an original signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights in 1948 and in 1998 Labour’s Human Rights Act enshrined it in our law.

So Labour will continue to work with other European allies including through the Council of Europe to ensure our country and others uphold our international obligations.

We must work with other countries to advance the cause of human rights to confront the four greatest and interconnected threats facing our common humanity:

First, the growing concentration of unaccountable wealth and power in the hands of a tiny corporate elite.

We must challenge that working with our European neighbours to stop those who would play one country off against another or those who hide their wealth offshore to avoid paying their dues.

Second, climate change which is creating instability and fuelling conflict across the world and threatening all our futures.

No matter how much we enforce them pollution stubbornly refuses to respect our borders.

We can only tackle climate change, pollution and environmental degradation by working together and many of our closest allies in that struggle are in Europe.

The Green Alliance estimates that trade in low carbons good and services contributed over £42 billion to the economy in 2015.

The UK low carbon and renewable energy sector was expected to increase fivefold by 2030 potentially bringing 2 million jobs and contributing more than 8% of the UK’s total output.

But that needs us to maintain our standards to ensure barrier-free trade of low carbon goods.

These include eco-design and energy labelling standards, greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles, the internal energy market, construction product standards, chemicals regulation and nuclear safety and safeguards.

So the importance of getting our Brexit settlement right is vital in this area both in terms of Britain’s industrial role in reducing climate change and in terms of protecting jobs and industry.

Third, the unprecedented numbers of people fleeing conflict, persecution, human rights abuses, social breakdown and climate disasters.

The global refugee crisis and there are 65 million refugees across the world that crisis is a challenge, much of which is on the borders of Europe and that challenge can be met by co-ordinating with our European neighbours, both to crack down on the people smugglers who put men, women and children to sea in unseaworthy vessels.

And as Operation Sophia tried to rescue those from the seas around Europe as too many desperate people are drowning in pursuit of sanctuary. These are people who are simply seeking refuge from cruelty and suffering they want to make a contribution and, but for accident of birth, it could be any of us.

I pay tribute too to the role of the Royal Navy for their contribution in the Mediterranean.

And finally, I want to briefly address the use of unilateral military action and intervention rather than diplomacy and negotiation to resolve disputes and change governments.

Let us learn the lessons of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan and be clear that we will not take our country down the road of regime change wars again.

The real answer is genuine international cooperation, which confronts the root causes of conflict, persecution and inequality, and we will continue to play a role in partnership with the EU in that effort.

We live in a globalised world, the lives we lead are dependent on the work of others and our trade with those from around the world.

Many of us have friends and family that are from or who live in other parts of the world.

In contrast to the Prime Minister who said, “if you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere”.

We believe in fact that we can only fully achieve what we want to as citizens of Britain by also recognising we are “citizens of the world”.

I have long opposed the embedding of free market orthodoxy and the democratic deficit in the European Union, and that is why I campaigned to ‘remain and reform’ in the referendum campaign.

Scepticism is healthy especially when dealing with politicians or the received wisdom of the political and media establishment, but often the term “Eurosceptic” in reality became synonymous with “anti-European”.

And I am not anti-European at all, I want to see close and progressive cooperation with the whole of Europe after Brexit.

Labour is the Party of the new common sense on the economy, on public services and on Brexit.

The only party which recognises the world has changed these last ten years and know we cannot continue with widening inequality deregulation of industry and privatisation of public services.

We are in a country where Tory-run councils are collapsing because of cuts. Where homeless people are dying on the streets in the shadow of the Parliament. Where good jobs are being lost, because we have a government that will not get a grip on the casino economy.

In or out of the European Union, we have to deal with that reality, the reality of market failure and austerity.

The free market has not worked in the banking sector. It has not worked in the water industry. It has not worked in the energy utilities. It has crashed in out-sourcing and it has failed our fragmented railways. And it has led to a labour market where abuse is rife.

The European Union is not the root of all our problems and leaving it will not solve all our problems.

Likewise, the EU is not the source of all enlightenment and leaving it does not inevitably spell doom for our country.

There will be some who will tell you that Brexit is a disaster for this country and some who will tell you that Brexit will create a land of milk and honey.

The truth is more down to earth and it’s in our hands.

Brexit is what we make of it together, the priorities and choices we make in the negotiations.

This Conservative government is damaging our country and their priorities for Brexit risk increasing the damage.

But I also know, what a Labour government could do for this country and that our priorities for Brexit negotiations are the right ones, to create a country that works for the many not the few.

Thank you.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Response to the Budget Statement

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, in the House of Commons on 22 November 2017.

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

The reality test of this Budget has to be how it affects ordinary people’s lives. I believe, as the days go ahead and this Budget unravels, the reality will be that a lot of people will be no better off, and the misery that many are in will be continuing.

Pay is now lower than it was in 2010, and wages are now falling again. Economic growth in the first three quarters of this year is the lowest since 2009 and the slowest of the major economies in the G7. It is a record of failure, with a forecast of more to come.

Economic growth has been revised down. Productivity growth has been revised down; business investment, revised down; people’s wages and living standards, revised down. What sort of strong economy is that? What sort of “fit for the future” is that?

You may recall, Mr Deputy Speaker, that the deficit was due to be eradicated by 2015. Then that moved to 2016; then to 2017; then to 2020. And now we are looking at 2025. The Government are missing their major targets, but the failed and damaging policy of austerity remains.

The number of people sleeping rough has doubled since 2010. This year, 120,000 children will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation. Three new pilot schemes to look at rough sleeping across the whole country simply does not cut it. We want action now to help those poor people who are forced to sleep on our streets and beg for—[Interruption.]

Mr Deputy Speaker

Order. I think the Whips should know better. Mr Spencer, I am sure you could relax—please, we do not need any more from you. If not, leave the Chamber.

Jeremy Corbyn

The point I was making is that three new pilot schemes for rough sleepers simply does not cut it. It is a disaster for those people sleeping on our streets and forced to beg for the money for a night shelter. They are looking for action now from Government to give them a roof over their heads.

In some parts of the country, life expectancy is actually beginning to fall. The last Labour Government lifted 1 million children out of poverty—it was an amazing achievement. Under this Government, an extra 1 million children will be plunged into poverty by the end of this Parliament. Some 1.9 million pensioners, or one in six of all pensioners, are living in poverty—the worst rate anywhere in western Europe. So, it is falling pay, slow growth and rising poverty. This is what the Chancellor has the cheek to call a strong economy.

The Chancellor’s predecessor said they would put the burden on

“those with the broadest shoulders”—[Official Report, 20 October 2010; Vol. 516, c. 951]—

so how has that turned out? The poorest 10th of households will lose 10% of their income by 2022, while the richest will lose just 1%—so much for “tackling burning injustices”. This is a Government tossing fuel on the fire.

Personal debt levels are rising: 8.3 million people are over-indebted. If the Chancellor wants to help people out of debt, he should back Labour’s policy for a real living wage of £10 an hour by 2020. Working-class young people are now leaving university with £57,000-worth of debt because this Government—his Government—trebled tuition fees. The new Government policy is to win over young people by keeping fees at £9,250 per year—more debt for people who want to learn.

But that is just one of the multitudes of injustices presided over by this Government. Another is universal credit, which we called on Ministers to pause and fix. That is the view of this House. It is the verdict of those on the frontline.

Christopher Pincher (Tamworth) (Con)

Keep going, Jeremy!

Mr Deputy Speaker

Mr Pincher, you shouted out “Keep going,” and the right hon. Gentleman will—but you will be going out of the Chamber.

Jeremy Corbyn

I would rather people stayed to listen, actually, Mr Deputy Speaker, to the reality—[Interruption.]

Mr Deputy Speaker

Order. Silence—that’s the difference. It will be in silence.

Jeremy Corbyn

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Maybe Government Members would like to listen to Martin’s experience. A full-time worker on the minimum wage, he said:

“I get paid four weekly meaning that my pay date is different each month”.

Because, under the universal credit system, he was paid twice in a month and deemed to have earned too much, his universal credit was cut off. He says:

“This led me into rent arrears and I had to use a food bank for the first time in my life”.

That is the humiliation that he and so many others have gone through because of the problems of universal credit. Would it not have been better to pause the whole thing and look at the problems it has caused?

The Chancellor’s solution to a failing system causing more debt is to offer a loan, and a six-week wait, with 20% waiting even longer, simply becomes a five-week wait. This system has been run down by £3 billion of cuts to work allowances, the two-child limit and the perverse and appalling rape clause, and it has caused evictions because housing benefit is not paid direct to the landlord. So I say to the Chancellor again: put this system on hold so it can be fixed and keep 1 million of our children out of poverty.

For years, we have had the rhetoric of a long-term economic plan that never meets its targets when what all too many people are experiencing is long-term economic pain—and hardest hit are disabled people, single parents and women—so it is disappointing that the Chancellor did not back the campaign by my hon. Friend the Member for Brent Central (Dawn Butler) to end period poverty. He could have done that. Well done her on the campaign; shame on him for not supporting it.

The Conservatives’ manifesto in the last election disappeared off their website after three days, and now some Ministers have put forward some half-decent proposals conspicuously borrowed from the Labour manifesto. Let me tell the Chancellor: as socialists, we are happy to share ideas. The Communities Secretary called for £50 million of borrowing to invest in house building; presumably, the Prime Minister slapped him down for wanting to bankrupt Britain. The Health Secretary has said that the pay cap is over, but where is the money to fund the pay rise?

The Chancellor has not been clear today—not for NHS workers, our police, firefighters, teachers, teaching assistants, bin collectors, tax collectors, or armed forces personnel—so will he listen to Claire? She says:

“My Mum works for the NHS. She goes above and beyond for her patients. Why does the government think it’s ok to under pay, over stress and underappreciate all that work?”

The NHS chief executive says:

“The budget for the NHS next year is well short of what is currently needed”.

From what the Chancellor has said today, it is still going to be well short of what is needed. He said in 2015 that the Government would fund another 5,000 GPs, but in the last year we have had 1,200 fewer GPs—and we have lost community nurses and mental health nurses. The Chancellor promised £10 billion in 2015 and delivered £4.5 billion. So if he does not mind, we will wait for the small print on today’s announcement—but even what he said certainly falls well short of the £6 billion Labour would have delivered from our June manifesto.

Over 1 million of our elderly are not receiving the care they need. Over £6 billion will have been cut from social care budgets by next March. [Interruption.] I hope the hon. Member for Burton (Andrew Griffiths) begins to understand what is like to wait for social care stuck in a hospital bed, with other people having to give up their work to care for them. The uncaring, uncouth attitude of certain Government Members has to be called out—[Interruption.]

Mr Deputy Speaker

Order. Carry on.

Jeremy Corbyn

That is why social care budgets are so important for so many very desperate people in our country.

Our schools will be 5% worse off by 2019 despite the Conservative manifesto promising that no school would be worse off. Five thousand head teachers from 25 counties wrote to the Chancellor saying:

“we are simply asking for the money that is being taken out of the system to be returned”.

A senior science technician, Robert, wrote to me saying:

“My pay”

has been

“reduced by over 30%. I’ve seen massive cuts at my school. Good teachers and support staff leave.”

That is what does for the morale both of teachers and students in school. According to this Government, 5,000 head teachers are wrong, Robert is wrong, the IFS is wrong—everybody is wrong except the Chancellor.

If the Chancellor bothered to listen to what local government is saying, he would know that it has been warning that services for vulnerable children are under more demand than ever, with more children being taken into care and more in desperate need of help and support. Yet councils are labouring with a £2 billion shortfall in the cost of dealing with vulnerable children. Local councils will have lost 80% of their direct funding by 2020. The reality of this across the country is women’s refuges closing, youth centres closing, libraries closing, museums closing, and public facilities understaffed, under-resourced and under-financed—it could be so different—but compassion can cost very little. Just £10 million is needed to establish the child funeral fund campaigned for so brilliantly by my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea East (Carolyn Harris). Why could not the Chancellor at least have agreed to fund that?

Under this Government, there are 20,000 fewer police officers, and another 6,000 community support officers and 11,000 fire service staff have been cut as well. You cannot keep communities safe on the cheap. Tammy explains:

“Our police presence has been taken away”

from her village

“meaning increasing crime. As a single parent I no longer feel safe in my own village, particularly”

at night.

Five and a half million workers earn less than the living wage—1 million more than five years ago. The Chancellor, last Sunday, could not even see 1.4 million people unemployed in this country. There is a crisis of low pay and insecure work affecting one in four women and one in six men, with a record 7.4 million people in working households living in poverty. If we want workers earning better pay and less dependent on in-work benefits, we need strong trade unions—the most effective way of boosting workers’ pay. Instead, this Government weakened trade unions and introduced employment tribunal fees, now scrapped thanks to the victory in the courts by Unison—a trade union representing its members.

Why did not the Chancellor take the opportunity to make two changes to control debt: first, to cap credit card debt, so that nobody pays back more than they borrowed; and secondly, to stop credit card companies increasing people’s credit limit without their say-so? Debt is being racked up because the Government are weak on those who exploit people, such as rail companies hiking fares above inflation year on year, and water companies and energy suppliers. During the general election, the Conservatives promised an energy cap that would benefit

“around 17 million families on standard variable tariffs”,

but every bill tells millions of families that the Government have broken that promise.

With £10 billion in housing benefit going into the pockets of private landlords every year, housing is a key factor in driving up the welfare bill. There were not too many words from the Chancellor about excessive rents in the private rented sector. With this Government delivering the worst rate of house building since the 1920s and a quarter of a million fewer council homes, any commitment would be welcome, but we have been here before. The Government promised 200,000 starter homes three years ago; not a single one has been built in those three years. We need a large-scale, publicly funded house building programme, not this Government’s accounting tricks and empty promises. Yes, we back the abolition in stamp duty for first-time buyers—because it was another Labour policy in our manifesto in June, not a Tory one.

This Government’s continual preference for spin over substance means that across this country the words “northern powerhouse” and “midlands engine” are now met with derision. Yorkshire and Humber gets only a 10th of the transport investment per head given to London. Government figures show that every region in the north of England has seen a fall in spending on services since 2012. The midlands, east and west, receives less than 8% of total transport infrastructure investment, compared with the 50% that goes to London. In the east and west midlands, one in four workers is paid less than the living wage—so much for the midlands engine. Re-announced funding for the trans-Pennine rail route will not cut it, and today’s other announcements will not redress the balance.

Combined with counterproductive austerity, this lack of investment has consequences in sluggish growth and shrinking pay packets. Public investment has virtually halved. Under this Government, Britain has the lowest rate of public investment in the G7, but it is now investing in driverless cars, after months of road testing back-seat driving in the Government.

By moving from RPI to CPI indexation on business rates, the Chancellor has adopted another Labour policy, but why do the Government not go further and adopt Labour’s entire business rates pledge, including exempting plant and machinery, and an annual revaluation of business rates?

Nowhere has the Government’s chaos been more evident than over Brexit. Following round after round of fruitless Brexit negotiations, the Brexit Secretary has been shunted out for the Prime Minister, who has got no further. Every major business organisation has written to the Government, telling them to pull their finger out and get on with it. Businesses are delaying crucial investment decisions, and if this Government do not get their act together, those businesses will soon be taking relocation decisions.

Crashing out with no deal and turning Britain into a tax haven would damage people’s jobs and living standards, serving only a wealthy few. It is not as though this Government are not doing their best to protect tax havens and their clients in the meantime. The Paradise papers have again exposed how a super-rich elite is allowed to get away with dodging taxes. This Government have opposed measure after measure in this House—their Tory colleagues have done the same in the European Parliament—to clamp down on the tax havens that facilitate this outrageous leaching from our public purse. Non-paid tax and clever reinvestment to get away with tax hit hospitals, schools and housing, and they hit the poorest and most needy in our society. There is nothing moral about dodging tax; there is everything immoral about evading it.

Too often, it feels as though there is one rule for the super-rich and another for the rest of us. The horrors of Grenfell Tower were a reflection of a system that puts profits before people and that fails to listen to working-class communities. In 2013, the Government received advice in a coroner’s report that sprinklers should be fitted in all high-rise buildings. Today, once again, the Government failed to fund the £1 billion investment needed. The Chancellor says that councils should contact them, but Nottingham and Westminster have done so, and they have been refused; nothing was offered to them. We have the privilege of being Members of Parliament, in a building that is about to be retrofitted with sprinklers to protect us. The message is pretty clear: this Government care more about what happens here than about what happens to people living in high-rise homes, in effect saying that they matter less.

Our country is marked by growing inequality and injustice. We were promised, with lots of hype, a revolutionary Budget, but the reality is that nothing has changed. People were looking for help from this Budget, and they have been let down by a Government who, like the economy that they have presided over, are weak and unstable, and in need of urgent change. They call this a Budget fit for the future; the reality is that they are a Government no longer fit for office.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Speech to CBI Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, to the CBI Conference on 6 November 2017.

It’s a pleasure to be with you here for the second year running.

And a good deal has changed since I came to your conference last year.

We’ve had a surprise General Election and to many people here, perhaps an even more surprising result. A result that returned a weak and divided Conservative Government and a Labour opposition stronger and more united than before.

We have also seen the terms of economic debate shift dramatically.

I put it to you last year that for too many people the economic system simply isn’t working.

A system that has delivered rising inequality and falling living standards for the majority, when six million of those in work are earning less than the living wage.

It’s a system in which large numbers of people have lost confidence.

And it’s not hard to see why. The richest 10 per cent now own 900 times the wealth of the poorest 10 per cent and in recent years half of the increase in personal wealth has gone to the top 10 per cent.

I put it to you this year that a crucial reason for the surprising election result; the biggest turnaround in polls during an election campaign in British history, is that Labour went to the country with a vision that offered hope and change.

Our manifesto, For the Many Not the Few, set out a fully costed programme to build an economy which gives everyone the chance of a secure and fulfilling life.

Since the General Election in June the political establishment has finally begun to catch up.

Calls to end austerity now come from all sides in parliament.

Senior cabinet members are taking their lead from Labour and pushing for more radical solutions to the housing and student debt crises.

Sajid Javid advocates £50 billion of borrowing for investment in housing.

Jeremy Hunt has broken ranks and called for an end to the public sector pay cap.

Few would have predicted this a year ago. And of course we’ve yet to see if they’ve convinced the Chancellor.

It is a measure of the essential pragmatism of business people that so many have changed their outlook too.

Business people across the country have expressed to me a growing awareness – and acceptance – that things need to change.

The London Chamber of Commerce recently called for councils to be allowed to borrow freely to build housing.

We all know an economic model that allows a few to grow very rich while the majority face falling incomes and rising indebtedness; that leaves too many people in unfulfilling and insecure work; that is overly reliant on one sector in one region of our country, is neither stable nor sustainable.

And in this Living Wage Week, of all weeks, we have to be clear that Britain needs a pay rise.

When too much of household income is going to pay debts or rent, that’s less money for consumers to spend on productive businesses. That’s why Labour backs a Real Living Wage and sensible controls on rents and debts.

Because it isn’t good for business either.

We understand that Labour has changed and you have changed.

But there is one thing that hasn’t changed.

A year ago, we were just five months on from the referendum vote to leave the European Union. The Government’s sluggish response to which had already created unprecedented uncertainty for business.

A year on, Article 50 has been triggered, Brexit negotiations are underway but businesses feel no closer to having the clarity about the direction of travel they desperately need.

Indeed, watching chaos and confusion grow at the heart of Government and Brexit negotiations stuck in stalemate, many of you probably feel that the situation is more uncertain and precarious than ever.

Time is running out. We know, as you do, that firms are deciding now whether to continue to invest in the UK, and that guarantees in key areas are needed now to stop firms from cutting the UK out of their business models.

A few weeks ago, you joined forces with Britain’s other major business organisations, the Engineering Employers Federation, the Chamber of Commerce, the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Business, to ask the Government to heed the needs of business as they negotiate our exit from the European Union.

We agree. We need a Brexit that puts jobs and living standards first and it is Labour that has common ground with you on putting the needs of the economy front and centre stage.

We have common ground on the need for transitional arrangements to be agreed immediately so that businesses know they won’t face a cliff-edge Brexit when the two year negotiating period is up.

Because let me be clear: to delay a transition deal until a final deal is agreed as the Prime Minister says she wants to do, is simply not good enough.

The prospect of sudden changes in the legal and regulatory environment in which people do business is affecting your decisions right now.

And we have common ground on the threat of “no deal” which, contrary to the claims of the Secretary of State for International Trade, is potentially a nightmare scenario. One that involves tariffs on our food imports and our manufacturing exports, queues at our ports and a hard border in Northern Ireland with all the dangers that could bring.

The fact that some in the cabinet want “no deal” to re-launch Britain as a race-to-the-bottom deregulated tax haven on the shores of Europe only adds to the risks.

And we agree on the need to signal that the UK remains open to the rest of the world that Europe is not the “enemy” but our partner in a strong cooperative relationship for the future.

And that EU citizens living in the UK are our friends and fellow workers, which is why the Government should immediately and unilaterally guarantee them full rights to remain here; in fact they should have done so months ago. And indeed Labour called for that in July of last year.

Like you, we have always said that we respect the result of the referendum. Like you, we have always said that the economy, jobs and living standards should come first in the negotiations, which means it is crucial that the final deal maintains the benefits of the common market and the customs union.

I promise you today between now and March 2019, we will use every opportunity we can find to put pressure on the Government to do the same.

But, as Carolyn has so rightly pointed out, we mustn’t use up all our energies on the Brexit negotiations – there is vital action to be taken at home too.

What will be determined in the next two years is not just our relationship with the EU, but the kind of economy – and country – we want to live in.

A bad Brexit deal risks exacerbating existing weaknesses in our economy – low investment, low productivity, low pay.

We will be letting the country down if we don’t seize on this period of change to tackle those weaknesses at their root causes by working together to give shape to a new economic model that will create a fairer, richer Britain for all.

I believe we share a great deal of common ground over how this should be done.

Again, I echo Carolyn; if we are to raise wages and living standards we must solve our productivity crisis.

And it is a crisis.

It continues to take a worker in Britain five days to produce what a worker in France or Germany produces in four.

If the OBR decides that our recent dismal productivity performance is not an aberration but the new normal, and revises down their projections when they report to Parliament later this month it will take a huge toll on our public finances – as the Institute for Fiscal Studies has pointed out.

It couldn’t be clearer: our productivity crisis is making our country poorer.

The answer to our productivity crisis lies in investment, in infrastructure, in new technologies and in people.

Business investment is being held back by creaking infrastructure and a shortage of skilled workers. So Government must act first.

Yet under the Conservatives, crucial infrastructure investment has been delayed – from rail electrification to the Swansea Tidal Lagoon; the adult skills budget has been slashed. They even went into the election promising to cut per pupil schools funding in real terms.

The Chancellor should use his Autumn Budget to change direction, and invest for long-term growth.

That is what Labour has already pledged to do.

With a National Transformation Fund to upgrade our country’s infrastructure and reverse years of under-investment in the regions; investing in transport, energy and digital infrastructure right across the country.

We will establish a National Investment Bank with a network of regional development banks that will provide patient finance for firms wanting to adopt and implement existing innovations and to develop new ones. We are a very creative country.

And we’ll build a National Education Service to ensure that, when businesses create skilled jobs, there are people able to fill them. And when businesses adopt new technologies, there are employees who know how to use them.

These policies will help create the conditions businesses need to invest… but they will only deliver the improvements our economy needs if they are backed up by a bold industrial strategy.

Again, this Government is failing to act. We have heard a lot of warm words on industrial strategy, but we are still waiting to hear how they will take it forward.

Labour’s industrial strategy, built on national missions – for energy transition and to increase R&D spending to 3 per cent of GDP by 2030 – will lay down the challenges to business, and provide the foundations on which they can be met.

We will invest £1.3bn on R&D in our first two years in Government, to galvanise private investment, set up two new catapult centres for retail and metals, centres of collaboration and innovation, to drive productivity improvement and harness the £200bn spent by the public sector each year to boost local economies and supply chains, to bring prosperity to every region of the country.

This is how we deliver properly funded public services in the long run, and ensure everyone earns enough to live on.

If we get this right, it is not just our economy that will be stronger, but our political institutions and our social bonds as well.

We will, as you know, raise some taxes to pay for it, to ensure that our spending plans fit within the constraints of our fiscal credibility rule.

But when we do, we will be clear and open about our tax plans, as we were during the general election campaign. We won’t do it by stealth.

And we will seek to improve the functioning of business taxation wherever possible by uprating business rates in line with CPI instead of RPI, moving to annual revaluations, and exempting new plant and machinery and by looking at staggering tax incentives for investment and innovation.

We will do this because a fair and functional taxation system is the only way to deliver the investment in infrastructure and skills that are so desperately needed across the country.

I’m sure everyone here will agree, providing good infrastructure and education is what responsible governments do.

And it’s not just government that has a duty to be responsible, business does too. From ensuring their suppliers, often small businesses, are paid promptly, to ensuring they pay their taxes in full too.

The shocking revelations from the Paradise Papers today, yet again of widespread tax avoidance and evasion on an industrial scale must lead to decisive action and real change.

It is by no means all big businesses but these actions by a few undermine trust in all businesses.

And businesses are the victim too, not just reputationally but financially.

Those businesses that play by the rules and pay the taxes they owe are being undercut by those who don’t.

The vital revenues government needs to fund an industrial strategy, good infrastructure and the world class education system we aspire to; these things can only be delivered by fair taxation.

So while we mustn’t tarnish all businesses by the actions of the few, we also have a duty to come down hard on those who are avoiding the responsibilities and give HM Revenue & Customs the resources it needs.

As our Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has set out this morning, we need a full public inquiry into tax avoidance and evasion, on and offshore, a register of companies and trusts, and who benefits from them, and a new tax enforcement unit in HMRC and an end to public contracts for companies abusing the system.

And we will look at using a withholding tax where individuals or companies are involved in abusing the system and end public contracts for companies engaged in abusive tax avoidance.

Please understand the public anger and consternation at the scale of tax avoidance revealed yet again today. We are talking about tens of billions that are effectively being leached from our vital public services by a super-rich elite that holds the taxation system and the rest of us in contempt. We must take action now to put an end to this socially damaging and extortionately costly scandal.

And there’s another area where we have we all have a duty to act – and act now.

Faced with the ongoing revelations about sexual harassment we should make this a turning point and a moment of real change. We must no longer allow anyone to be abused in the workplace.

Such abuse, sexism and misogyny is, sadly, very far from being confined to Hollywood and the corridors of power, but is also widespread in our schools and universities, in our businesses and workplaces, in our newspapers and on our TV screens. It is all around us.

That must change and business has an essential role to play. All of you need to look hard at yourselves, as we in the Labour Party are doing ourselves, to see how your processes and procedures can be improved. How it can be made easier for women to speak out and for victims to get the support they have a right to expect.

Businesses can have a vital partner in rooting out injustice in the workplace – trade unions. They are crucial to taking on and rooting out sexual harassment and discrimination. And I would encourage each and every business serious about improving your workplace culture and tackling sexual discrimination at work to engage with trade unions.

Governments also have other responsibilities – enforcing a fair and transparent regulatory framework so that, for example, businesses aren’t destroyed by the likes of RBS abusing their power, providing for the health of our citizens and, yes, in some cases, running essential public utilities.

Because every one of you in this room who knows what goes into seeing an idea brought to market or what it takes to survive the cut and thrust of consumer choice month to month, knows that privatised monopoly utilities are not real markets. Where’s the pressure for efficiency and innovation if consumers cannot go elsewhere when they are dissatisfied?

I know some of you disagree and think that bringing some parts of the economy into public ownership won’t be good for the reputation of business, but it’s not good for the image of business when water companies pay out billions in dividend and interest payments through opaque financial arrangements, while households see their bills go up to pay for it.

It’s not good for business people if their employees have to spend huge amounts of time and money getting to and from work each day on expensive and unreliable services.

It is not good for manufacturers to have among the most expensive energy in Europe, or see energy transition held back because the necessary investments to transform our energy grid are not being made.

And, just as it wouldn’t be good for business to be locked into inefficient funding arrangements that don’t provide finance on the best terms available, or inflexible contracts that don’t adapt to your needs, nor is it good for the public.

That’s why we will end the Private Finance Initiative – because PFI contracts have over-charged the public to the tune of billions.

You wouldn’t put up with it and neither will we.

But we won’t let ending PFI hold up vital infrastructure investment. We’ll end it to make sure that investment happens in a way that gives best value for money for the public, and in a way that better meets user needs.

This isn’t about being anti-business, anti-enterprise, or about closing ourselves off to the rest of the world.

It is about deciding to attract business from across the world by creating world-class infrastructure that is efficiently funded, cheap and reliable energy, safe and efficient water and transport systems and a skilled and educated population.

Not by allowing a select few to make monopoly profits from our essential utilities.

This isn’t a throwback to a bygone era; it’s entirely in step with what is happening in the rest of the world. Some of the world’s biggest economies – Germany, France, even the United States are deciding that key sectors such as energy and water are better off in public ownership. It’s time for Britain to catch up.

Building an economy for the many will mean making some big changes.

But it will also mean an economy that is stronger, fairer and more stable and business people know more than anyone how important that is.

Common ground on Brexit, common ground on investment, training and industrial strategy and a government that embraces its responsibilities and carries them out for the common good.

That’s what Labour offers you. That’s what Labour offers Britain.

Thank you.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Speech at Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, at the Labour Party Conference held in Brighton on 27 September 2017.

Conference, thank you for that. We meet here this week as a united Party, advancing in every part of Britain, winning the confidence of millions of our fellow citizens, setting out our ideas and plans for our country’s future, that have already inspired people of all ages and backgrounds.

And it’s a privilege to be speaking in Brighton. A city that not only has a long history of hosting Labour conferences, but also of inspirational Labour activists.

It was over a century ago, here in Brighton, that a teenage shop worker had had enough of the terrible conditions facing her and her workmates. She risked the sack to join the Shop Workers’ Union, after learning about it in a newspaper used to wrap up fish and chips, and was so effective at standing up for women shop workers, she became assistant general secretary before the age of 30.

In that role she seconded the historic resolution at the Trades Union Congress of 1899 to set up the Labour Representation Committee so that working people would finally have representation in Parliament.

That became the Labour Party and it was this woman, Margaret Bondfield who later become a Labour MP. And in 1929, the first ever woman to join the British cabinet’

From a Brighton drapery to Downing Street. Margaret Bondfield’s story is a reminder of the decisive role women have played in the Labour Party from its foundation, and that Labour has always been about making change by working together and standing up for others.

Conference, against all predictions in June we won the largest increase in the Labour vote since 1945 and achieved Labour’s best vote for a generation. It’s a result which has put the Tories on notice and Labour on the threshold of power.

Yes, we didn’t do quite well enough and we remain in opposition for now, but we have become a Government-in-waiting. Our outstanding shadow cabinet team here today. And our message to the country could not be clearer – Labour is ready.

Ready to tackle inequality , ready to rebuild our NHS, ready to give opportunity to young people, dignity and security to older people, ready to invest in our economy and meet the challenges of climate change and automation, ready to put peace and justice at the heart of foreign policy. And ready to build a new and progressive relationship with Europe.

We are ready and the Tories are clearly not. They’re certainly not strong and they’re definitely not stable. They’re not remotely united. And they’re hanging on by their fingertips.

But this Tory Government does have one thing that we lack. They have tracked down the Magic Money Tree when it was needed to keep Theresa May in Downing Street. It was given a good old shake – and lo and behold – now we know the price of power – it’s about £100m for each Democratic Unionist MP.

During the election campaign, Theresa May told voters they faced the threat of a “coalition of chaos . Remember that? Well, now they’re showing us exactly how that works. And I don’t just mean the Prime Minister’s desperate deal with the DUP. She’s got a “coalition of chaos” around her own cabinet table – Phillip Hammond and Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and David Davis.

At each other’s throats, squabbling and plotting, manoeuvring to bundle the Prime Minister out of Number Ten and take her place at the first opportunity Instead of getting to grips with the momentous issues facing our country.

But this coalition of chaos is no joke. Just look at their record since the Conservatives have been in office;

The longest fall in people’s pay since record began

Homelessness doubled

NHS waiting lists lengthening

School class sizes growing and teachers leaving

Over 4 million children now in poverty

20,000 police officers … and 11,000 firefighters cut

More people in work and in poverty … than ever before

Condemned by the United Nations for violating the rights of disabled people.

That’s not strong and stable. It’s callous and calculating. Because the Tories calculated that making life worse for millions in the name of austerity would pay for hefty tax handouts to the rich and powerful.

Conference, your efforts in the election campaign stopped the Tories in their tracks. The election result has already delivered one Tory U-turn after another over some of their most damaging policies. The cruel dementia tax was scrapped within three days of being announced. Plans to bring back grammar schools have been ditched . The threat to the pensions’ triple lock abandoned. Withdrawal of Winter Fuel payments dumped. The pledge to bring back fox hunting dropped. And their plan to end free school meals in primary schools has been binned.

The reality is that barely three months since the election this coalition of Conservative chaos is tearing up its Manifesto and tearing itself apart. They are bereft of ideas and energy. Indeed, they seem to be cherry-picking Labour policies instead, including on Brexit.

I say to the Prime Minister: “You’re welcome . But go the whole hog end austerity, abolish tuition fees, scrap the public sector pay cap. I think we can find a Commons majority for all of that. This is a weak and divided Government with no purpose beyond clinging to power.

It is Labour that is now setting the agenda and winning the arguments for a new common sense about the direction our country should take.

Conference, there were two stars of our election campaign. The first was our Manifesto that drew on the ideas of our members and trade unionists and the hopes and aspirations of their communities and workplaces. And we were clear about how we would pay for it by asking the richest and the largest corporations to start paying their fair share.

Not simply to redistribute within a system that isn’t delivering for most people but to transform that system. So we set out not only how we would protect public services but how we would rebuild and invest in our economy, with a publicly-owned engine of sustainable growth, driven by national and regional investment banks, to generate good jobs and prosperity in every region and nation.

Our Manifesto is the programme of a modern, progressive socialist party that has rediscovered its roots and its purpose, bucking the trend across Europe.

And Conference, the other star of that campaign was YOU. Our members, our supporters in the trade unions, our doorstep and social media campaigners. Young people sharing messages and stories on social media, hundreds of thousands organising online and on the ground to outplay the Tories’ big money machine.

Is it any wonder that here today in Brighton you represent the largest political party in western Europe, with nearly 600,000 members, alongside three million affiliated trade unionists, brimming with enthusiasm and confidence in the potential of our people. You are the future. And let me say straight away. I’m awed and humbled by everything you have done, along with hundreds of thousands of others across the country, to take us to where we are today.

I have never been more proud to be your elected leader. Our election campaign gave people strength. It brought millions on to the electoral register and inspired millions to go to vote for the first time.

And Labour was the Party of unity, bringing generations and communities together, rather than pitting young and old against each other, as the Tories did. We will never seek to squeeze one generation to support another. Under Labour, people will win together.

The result of our campaign confounded every expert and sceptic. I see John McDonnell said the ‘grey beards’ had got it all wrong. I’m not sure that’s entirely fair, John? We wiped out the Tory majority, winning support in every social and age group and gaining seats in every region and nation of the country.

So please, Theresa May take another walking holiday and make another impetuous decision. The Labour campaign machine is primed and ready to roll.

Of course, there were some who didn’t come out of the election too well. I’m thinking of some of our more traditional media friends. They ran the campaign they always do under orders from their tax exile owners to trash Labour at every turn. The day before the election one paper devoted fourteen pages to attacking the Labour Party. And our vote went up nearly 10%.

Never have so many trees died in vain. The British people saw right through it. So this is a message to the Daily Mail’s editor- next time, please could you make it 28 pages?

But there’s a serious message too, the campaign by the Tories and their loyal media was nasty and personal. It fuelled abuse online and no one was the target of that more than Diane Abbott. She has a decades-long record of campaigning for social justice and has suffered intolerable misogynistic and racist abuse. Faced with such an overwhelmingly hostile press and an army of social media trolls,it’s even more important that we stand.

Yes we will disagree, but there can never be any excuse for any abuse of anybody. We settle our differences with democratic votes and unite around those decision.

That is the Labour Party, here this week, and out in the communities EVERY week -diverse, welcoming, democratic and ready to serve our country.

There is no bigger test in politics right now than Brexit, an incredibly important and complex process, that cannot be reduced to repeating fairy stories from the side of a bus or waiting 15 months to state the obvious. As democratic socialists, we accept and respect the referendum result, but respect for a democratic decision does not mean giving a green light to a recklesss Tory Brexit agenda that would plunge Britain into a Trump-style race-to-the-bottom in rights and corporate taxes.

We are not going to be passive spectators to a hopelessly inept negotiating team putting at risk people’s jobs, rights and living standards. A team more interested in posturing for personal advantage than in getting the best deal for our country. To be fair, Theresa May’s speech in Florence last week did unite the cabinet. for a few hours at least. Her plane had barely touched down at Heathrow before the divisions broke out again.

Never has the national interest been so ill-served on such a vital issue, If there were no other reason for the Tories to go their self-interested Brexit bungling would be reason enough. So I have a simple message to the cabinet for Britain’s sake pull yourself together or make way.

One thing needs to be made clear straight away. The three million EU citizens currently living and working in Britain are welcome here. They have been left under a cloud of insecurity by this government when their future could have been settled months ago. So Theresa May, give them the full guarantees they deserve today. If you don’t, we will.

Since the referendum result our Brexit team has focused above all on our economic future. That future is now under real threat. A powerful faction in the Conservative leadership sees Brexit as their chance to create a tax haven on the shores of Europe a low-wage, low tax deregulated playground for the hedge funds and speculators. A few at the top would do very nicely, no question. But manufacturing industries would go to the wall taking skilled jobs with them our tax base would crumble our public services would be slashed still further.

We are now less than 18 months away from leaving the European Union. And so far, the Tory trio leading the talks have got nowhere and agreed next to nothing. This rag-tag Cabinet spends more time negotiating with each other than they do with the EU. A cliff-edge Brexit is at risk of becoming a reality. That is why Labour has made clear that Britain should stay within the basic terms of the single market and a customs union for a limited transition period. It is welcome at least that Theresa May has belatedly accepted that.

But beyond that transition, our task is a different one. It is to unite everyone in our country around a progressive vision of what Britain could be, but with a government that stands for the many not the few.

Labour is the only party that can bring together those who voted leave and those who backed remain and unite the country for a future beyond Brexi. What matters in the Brexit negotiations is to achieve a settlement that delivers jobs, rights and decent living standards.

Conference, the real divide over Brexit could not be . A shambolic Tory Brexit driving down standards .Or a Labour Brexit that puts jobs first a Brexit for the many, one that guarantees unimpeded access to the single market and establishes a new co-operative relationship with the EU.

A Brexit that uses powers returned from Brussels to support a new industrial strategy to upgrade our economy in every region and nation. One that puts our economy first not fake immigration targets that fan the flames of fear. We will never follow the Tories into the gutter of blaming migrants for the ills of society. It isn’t migrants who drive down wages and conditions but the worst bosses in collusion with a Conservative government that never misses a chance to attack trade unions and weaken people’s rights at work.

Labour will take action to stop employers driving down pay and conditions not pander to scapegoating or racism. How Britain leaves the European Union is too important to be left to the Conservatives and their internal battles and identity crises.

Labour will hold Theresa May’s squabbling ministers to account every step of the way in these talks. And, with our Brexit team of Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and Barry Gardiner we stand ready to take over whenever this government fails. to negotiate a new relationship with Europe that works for us all reaching outto help create a Europe for the many for the future.

The truth is …. That under the Tories Britain’s future is at risk whatever the outcome of the Brexit process. Our economy no longer delivers secure housing secure well-paid jobs or rising living standards. There is a new common sense emerging about how the country should be run. That’s what we fought for in the election and that’s what’s needed to replace the broken model forged by Margaret Thatcher many years ago.

And Ten years after the global financial crash the Tories still believe in the same dogmatic mantra – Deregulate, privatise ,cut taxes for the wealthy, weaken rights at work, delivering profits for a few, and debt for the many. Nothing has changed. It’s as if we’re stuck in a political and economic time-warp.

As the Financial Times put it last month our “financial system still looks a lot like the pre-crisis one” and the capitalist system still faces a “crisis of legitimacy”, stemming from the crash.

Now is the time that government took a more active role in restructuring our economy. Now is the time that corporate boardrooms were held accountable for their actions, And now is the time that we developed a new model of economic management to replace the failed dogmas of neo-liberalism … That is why Labour is looking not just to repair the damage done by austerity but to transform our economy with a new and dynamic role for the public sector particularly where the private sector has evidently failed.

Take the water industry. Of the nine water companies in England six are now owned by private equity or foreign sovereign wealth funds. Their profits are handed out in dividends to shareholders while the infrastructure crumbles the companies pay little or nothing in tax and executive pay has soared as the service deteriorates.

That is why we are committed to take back our utilities into public ownership to put them at the service of our people and our economy and stop the public being ripped off.

Of course there is much more that needs to be done. Our National Investment Bank… and the Transformation Fund will be harnessed to mobilise public investment to create wealth and good jobs. When I’ve met business groups I’ve been frank we will invest in the education and skills of the workforce and we will invest in better infrastructure from energy to digital but we are going to ask big business to pay a bit more tax.

The Tory approach to the economy isn’t entrepreneurial It’s extractive. They’re not focused on long-term investment and wealth creation. When you look at what they do rather than what they say it’s all about driving down wages, services and standards … to make as much money as quickly as possible with government not as the servant of the people but of global corporations. And their disregard for rampant inequality the hollowing out of our public services, the disdain for the powerless and the poorhave made our society more brutal and less caring.

Now that degraded regime has a tragic monument the chilling wreckage of Grenfell Tower. A horrifying fire in which dozens perished an entirely avoidable human disaster. One which is an indictment not just of decades of failed housing policies and privatisation and the yawning inequality in one of the wealthiest boroughs and cities in the world, it is also a damning indictment of a whole outlook which values council tax refunds for the wealthy above decent provision for all and which has contempt for working class communities.

Before the fire, a tenants’ group of Grenfell residents had warned … and I quote words that should haunt all politicians “the Grenfell Action Group firmly believesthat only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord”. Grenfell is not just the result of bad political decisions It stands for a failed and broken system which Labour must and will replace.

The poet Ben Okri recently wrote in his poem “Grenfell Tower”:

Those who were living now are dead

Those who were breathing are from the living earth fled

If you want to see how the poor die, come see Grenfell Tower.

See the tower, and let a world changing dream flower.

We have a duty as a country to learn the lessons from this calamity and ensure that a changed world flowers . I hope that the public inquiry will assist. But a decent home is a right for everyone whatever their income or background. And houses should be homes for the many not speculative investments for a few. Look at the Conservative housing record and you understand why Grenfell residents are sceptical about their Conservative council and this Conservative government.

Since 2010: homelessness has doubled, 120,000 children don’t have a home to call their own, home ownership has fallen, thousands are living in homes unfit for human habitation. This is why alongside our Shadow Housing minister John Healey we’re launching a review of social housing policy – its building, planning, regulation and management.

We will listen to tenants across the country and propose a radical programme of action to next year’s conference. But some things are already clear tenants are not being listened to.

We will insist that every home is fit for human habitation, a proposal this Tory government voted down. And we will control rents – when the younger generation’s housing costs are three times more than those of their grandparents, that is not sustainable.

Rent controls exist in many cities across the world and I want our cities to have those powers too and tenants to have those protections. We also need to tax undeveloped land held by developers and have the power to compulsorily purchase. As Ed Miliband said, “Use it or lose it”. Families need homes.

After Grenfell we must think again about what are called regeneration schemes.

Regeneration is a much abused word.

Too often what it really means is forced gentrification and social cleansing, as private developers move in and tenants and leaseholders are moved out.

We are very clear: we will stop the cuts to social security.

But we need to go further, as conference decided yesterday.

So when councils come forward with proposals for regeneration, we will put down two markers based on one simple principle:

Regeneration under a Labour government will be for the benefit of the local people, not private developers, not property speculators.

First, people who live on an estate that’s redeveloped must get a home on the same site and the same terms as before.

No social cleansing, no jacking up rents, no exorbitant ground rents.

And second councils will have to win a ballot of existing tenants and leaseholders before any redevelopment scheme can take place.

Real regeneration, yes, but for the many not the few.

That’s not all that has to change.

All parties unite in paying tribute to our public sector workers:

The firefighters who ran into Grenfell Tower to save lives; the health service workers caring for the maimed in the Manchester terrorist outrage; the brave police officers who confronted the attackers at London Bridge; and PC Keith Palmer who gave his life when terrorists attack our democracy.

Our public servants make the difference every day, between a decent and a threadbare society.

Everyone praises them. But it is Labour that values them and is prepared to give them the pay rise they deserve and protect the services they provide.

Year after year the Tories have cut budgets and squeezed public sector pay, while cutting taxes for the highest earners and the big corporations.

You can’t care for the nation’s health when doctors and nurses are being asked to accept falling living standards year after year.

You can’t educate our children properly in ever larger class sizes with more teachers than ever leaving the profession.

You can’t protect the public on the cheap.

The police and security services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts.

Scrapping the public sector pay squeeze isn’t an act of charity – it is a necessity to keep our public services fully staffed and strong.

Not everything worthwhile costs money though.

Like many people, I have been moved by the Daily Mirror’s campaign to change the organ donation law.

There are more than 5,000 people on organ transplant waiting lists, but a shortage of donors means that in recent years only 3,500 of them get the life-saving treatments they need.

So that everybody whose life could be saved by an organ transplant can have the gift of life – from one human being to another.

The law has already been changed in Wales under Carwyn Jones’s leadership, and today I make the commitment a Labour government will do the same for England.

In the last couple of days John McDonnell and Rebecca Long-Bailey have set out how we are going to develop the economic plans in our manifesto to ensure that sustainable growth and good jobs reach ALL parts of the country.

So that no community or region is held back.

To establish regional development banks,. to invest in an industrial strategy for every region.

But the challenges of the future go beyond the need to turn our backs on an economic model that has failed to invest and upgrade our economy.

We need urgently to face the challenge of automation – robotics that could make so much of contemporary work redundant.

That is a threat in the hands of the greedy, but it’s a huge opportunity if it’s managed in the interests of society as a whole.

We won’t reap the full rewards of these great technological advances if they’re monopolised to pile up profits for a few.

But if they’re publicly managed – to share the benefits – they can be the gateway for a new settlement between work and leisure. A springboard for expanded creativity and culture.

The tide of automation and technological change means re-training and management of the workforce must be centre-stage in the coming years.

So Labour will build an education and training system from the cradle to the grave that empowers people.

Not one that shackles them with debt.

That’s why we will establish a National Education Service which will include at its core free tuition for all college courses, technical and vocational training so that no one is held back by costs and everyone has the chance to learn.

That will give millions a fair chance.

Lifelong learning for all is essential in the economy of the future.

The huge shift of employment that will take place under the impact of automation must be planned and managed.

It demands the reskilling of millions of people. Only Labour will deliver that.

As Angela Rayner said yesterday, our National Education Service will be run on clear principles: universal, free and empowering.

This is central to our socialism for the 21st century, for the many not the few.

During the election I visited Derwentside College in the constituency of our new MP Laura Pidcock – one of dozens of great new MPs breathing life and energy into Parliament.

They offer adult courses in everything from IT to beauty therapy, from engineering to childcare.

I met apprentice construction workers. They stand to benefit from Labour’s £250 billion National Transformation Fund, building the homes people need and the new transport, energy and digital infrastructure our country needs.

But changing our economy to make it work for the whole country can’t take place in isolation from changing how our country is run.

For people to take control of their own lives, our democracy needs to break out of Westminster into all parts of our society and economy where power is unaccountable.

All around the world democracy is facing twin threats:

One is the emergence of an authoritarian nationalism that is intolerant and belligerent.

The second is apparently more benign, but equally insidious.

It is that the big decisions should be left to the elite.

That political choices can only be marginal and that people are consumers first, and only citizens a distant second.

Democracy has to mean much more than that.

It must mean listening to people outside of election time. Not just the rich and powerful who are used to calling the shots, but to those at the sharp end who really know what’s going on.

Like the Greater Manchester police officer who warned Theresa May two years ago that cuts to neighbourhood policing were risking people’s lives and security.

His concerns were dismissed as “crying wolf”.

Like the care workers sacked when they blow the whistle on abuse of the elderly..

Or the teachers intimidated when they speak out about the lack of funding for our children’s schools.

Or the doctors who are ignored when they warn that the NHS crumbling before our eyes, or blow the whistle on patient safety.

Labour is fighting for a society not only where rewards are more fairly spread, but where people are listened to more as well by government, their local council, their employer.

Some of the most shocking cases of people not being listened to must surely be the recent revelations of widespread child sex abuse.

Young people – and most often young working class women – have been subjected to the most repugnant abuse.

The response lies in making sure that everybody’s voice must be heard no matter who they are or what their background.

The kind of democracy that we should be aiming for is one where people have a continuing say in how society is run, how their workplace is run, how their local schools or hospitals are run.

That means increasing the public accountability and democratization of local services that Andrew Gwynne was talking about on Monday.

It means democratically accountable public ownership for the natural monopolies, with new participatory forms of management, as Rebecca Long-Bailey has been setting out.

It means employees given their voice at work, with unions able to represent them properly, freed of undemocratic fetters on their right to organize.

I promised you two years ago that we would do politics differently.

It’s not always been easy.

There’s quite a few who prefer politics the old way.

But let me say it again. We will do politics differently.

And the vital word there is “we”.

Not just leaders saying things are different, but everyone having the chance to shape our democracy.

Our rights as citizens are as important as our rights as consumers.

Power devolved to the community, not monopolised in Westminster and Whitehall.

Now let’s take it a stage further – make public services accountable to communities.

Business accountable to the public, and politicians truly accountable to those we serve.

Let the next Labour government will transform Britain by genuinely putting power in the hands of the people, the creative, compassionate and committed people of our country.

Both at home and abroad, what underpins our politics is our compassion and our solidarity with people.

Including those now recovering from hurricane damage in the Caribbean, floods in South Asia and Texas. and earthquakes in Mexico.

Our interdependence as a planet could not be more obvious.

The environmental crisis in particular demands a common global response.

That is why President Trump’s threats to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Treaty are so alarming.

There is no contradiction between meeting our climate change commitments and investing to build a strong economy based on high skill industries.

In fact the opposite is the case.

Action on climate change is a powerful spur to investment in the green industries and jobs of the future. So long as it is managed as part of a sustainable transition.

We know, tragically, that terrorism also recognises no boundaries.

We have had five shocking examples in Britain this year alone.

Two during the course of the General Election campaign and one in my own constituency.

Both Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan – the mayors of Manchester and London – played a crucial role in bringing people together in the aftermath of those brutal attacks.

The targeting of our democracy, of teenage girls at a pop concert, of people enjoying a night out, worshippers outside a mosque, commuters going to work – all of these are horrific crimes.

And we all unite in both condemning the perpetrators and in our support for the emergency and security services, working to keep us safe.

But we also know that terrorism is thriving in a world our governments have helped to shape, with its failed states, military interventions and occupations where millions are forced to flee conflict or hunger.

We have to do better and swap the knee-jerk response of another bombing campaign for long-term help to solve conflicts rather than fuel them.

And we must put our values at the heart of our foreign policy.

Democracy and human rights are not an optional extra to be deployed selectively.

So we cannot be silent at the cruel Saudi war in Yemen, while continuing to supply arms to Saudi Arabia, or the crushing of democracy in Egypt or Bahrain, or the tragic loss of life in Congo.

And I say this today to Aung San Suu Kyi – a champion of democracy and human rights – : end the violence now against the Rohingya in Myanmar and allow the UN and international aid agencies in to Rakhine state.

The Rohingya have suffered for too long!

We should stand firm for peaceful solutions to international crises.

Let’s tone down the rhetoric, and back dialogue and negotiations to wind down the deeply dangerous confrontation over the Korean Peninsula.

And I appeal to the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres to use the authority of his office and go to Washington and Pyongyang to kick start that essential process of dialogue.

And let’s give real support to end the oppression of the Palestinian people, the 50-year occupation and illegal settlement expansion and move to a genuine two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Britain’s voice needs to be heard independently in the world.

We must be a candid friend to the United States, now more than ever.

The values we share are not served by building walls, banning immigrants on the basis of religion, polluting the planet, or pandering to racism.

And let me say frankly – the speech made by the US President to the United Nations last week was deeply disturbing.

It threatened war and talked of tearing up international agreements.

Devoid of concern for human rights or universal values, it was not the speech of a world leader.

Our government has a responsibility. It cannot meekly go along with this dangerous course.

If the special relationship means anything, it must mean that we can say to Washington: that way is the wrong way.

That’s clearly what’s needed in the case of Bombardier where thousands of jobs are now at stake.

A Prime Minister betting our economic future on a deregulated trade deal with the US might want to explain how 220% tariffs are going to boost our exports.

So let Britain’s voice be heard loud and clear for peace, justice and cooperation.

Conference, it is often said that elections can only be won from the centre ground.

And in a way that’s not wrong – so long as it’s clear that the political centre of gravity isn’t fixed or unmovable, nor is it where the establishment pundits like to think it is.

It shifts as people’s expectations and experiences change and political space is opened up.

Today’s centre ground is certainly not where it was twenty or thirty years ago.

A new consensus is emerging from the great economic crash and the years of austerity, when people started to find political voice for their hopes for something different and better.

2017 may be the year when politics finally caught up with the crash of 2008 – because we offered people a clear choice.

We need to build a still broader consensus around the priorities we set in the election, making the case for both compassion and collective aspiration.

This is the real centre of gravity of British politics.

We are now the political mainstream.

Our manifesto and our policies are popular because that is what most people in our country actually want, not what they’re told they should want.

And that is why Labour is on the way back in Scotland becoming once again the champion of social justice.

Thank you Kezia. And whoever next leads Scottish Labour – our unifying socialist message will continue to inspire both south and north of the border.

That is why our party now has around twice the membership of all the other parties put together.

Conference, we have left the status quo behind, but we must make the change we seek credible and effective.

We have left our own divisions behind. But we must make our unity practical. We know we are campaign-ready.

We must be government-ready too. Our aspirations matched by our competence.

During the election campaign I met and listened to people in every part of the country.

Struggling single parents, young people held back by lack of opportunity.

Pensioners anxious about health and social care, public servants trying to keep services together.

Low and middle earners, self-employed and employed, facing insecurity and squeezed living standards.

But hopeful that things could change, and that Labour could make a difference.

Many hadn’t voted before, or not for years past.

But they put their faith in our party.

We offered an antidote to apathy and despair.

Let everyone understand – We will not let you down.

Because we listen to you, because we believe in you.

Labour can and will deliver a Britain for the many not just the few.

Thank you.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Speech at Church House, London

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, at Church House in London on 19 April 2017.

The dividing lines in this election could not be clearer from the outset. It is the Conservatives, the party of privilege and the richest, versus the Labour Party, the party that is standing up for working people to improve the lives of all.

It is the establishment versus the people and it is our historic duty to make sure that the people prevail. A duty for all of us here today, the duty of every Labour MP, a duty for our half a million members – including the 2,500 who have joined in the last 24 hours.

Much of the media and establishment are saying that this election is a foregone conclusion.

They think there are rules in politics, which if you don’t follow by doffing your cap to powerful people, accepting that things can’t really change, then you can’t win.

But of course, they do not want us to win. Because when we win it is the people, not the powerful, who win.

The nurse, the teacher, the small trader, the carer, the builder, the office worker, the student, the carer win. We all win.

It is the establishment that complains I don’t play the rules: by which they mean their rules. We can’t win, they say, because we don’t play their game.

We don’t fit in their cosy club. We ‘re not obsessed with the tittle-tattle of Westminster or Brussels. We don’t accept that it is natural for Britain to be governed by a ruling elite, the City and the tax-dodgers, and we don’t accept that the British people just have to take what they’re given, that they don’t deserve better.

And in a sense, the establishment and their followers in the media are quite right. I don’t play by their rules. And if a Labour Government is elected on 8 June, then we won’t play by their rules either.

They are yesterday’s rules, set by failed political and corporate elites we should be consigning to the past.

It is these rules that have allowed a cosy cartel to rig the system in favour of a few powerful and wealthy individuals and corporations.

It is a rigged system set up by the wealth extractors, for the wealth extractors.

But things can, and they will, change.

Britain needs a Labour government that is prepared to fight for people in every part of the country, our towns, villages, as well as big cities.

A Labour government that isn’t scared to take on the cosy cartels that are hoarding this country’s wealth for themselves. It needs a government that will use that wealth to invest in people’s lives in every community to build a better future for every person who lives here.

Because the Conservatives, drunk on a failed ideology, are hell bent on cutting every public service they get their hands on, and they will use all of the divide-and-rule tricks of the Lynton Crosby trade to keep their rigged system intact.

Don’t be angry at the privatisers profiting from our public services, they whisper, be angry instead at the migrant worker just trying to make a better life.

Don’t be angry at the government ministers running down our schools and hospitals, they tell us, be angry instead at the disabled woman or the unemployed man.

It is the rigged economy the Tories are protecting that Labour is committed to challenging. We will not let the elite extract wealth from the pockets of ordinary working people any longer.

So many people in modern Britain do what seems like the right thing to do. They get jobs, they spend all day working hard, they save to buy their own home, they raise children, they look after elderly or sick relatives. And yet, at the end of it, they get almost nothing left over as a reward.

Compare their lives with the multinational corporations and the gilded elite who hide their money in the Cayman Islands because the Conservatives are too morally bankrupt to take them on.

Labour in power will end this racket and make sure that everybody pays their taxes which fund our public services.

We will overturn this rigged system. For all Theresa May’s warm words on the steps of Downing Street the Conservatives will never do any such thing.

Seven years of broken promises show us that on pay, the deficit, the NHS, our schools, our environment.

It was their wealthy friends in the City who crashed our economy. How dare they ruin the economy with their recklessness and greed and then punish those who had nothing to do with it? It was not pensioners, nurses, the low or averaged paid workers or carers who crashed the economy.

The Conservatives boast of record numbers of jobs. But what good is that if people in work are getting poorer and don’t share in the profits of that economy while the Conservatives look after the wealthy few? Our offer is to tackle elderly poverty and loneliness, invest in our economy, NHS and schools, to improve rights at work and the ten pound living wage.

Britain is the sixth richest economy in the world. The people of Britain must share in that wealth.

If I were Southern Rail or Philip Green, I’d be worried about a Labour Government.

If I were Mike Ashley or the CEO of a tax avoiding multinational corporation, I’d want to see a Tory victory.

Why? Because those are the people who are monopolising the wealth that should be shared by each and every one of us in this country. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a contribution to make and a life to lead. Poverty and homelessness are a disaster for the individual and a loss to all of us.

It is wealth that should belong to the majority and not a tiny minority.

Labour is the party that will put the interests of the majority first, while the Tories only really care about those who already have so much.

That is why we will prove the establishment experts wrong and change the direction of this election. Because the British people know that they are the true wealth creators, held back by a system rigged for the wealth extractors.

Theresa May will insist that this is an election about Brexit. She will try to downplay the issues that affect people’s lives every day and instead turn the election into an ego trip about her own failing leadership and the machinations of the coming negotiations in Brussels.

It is only Labour that will focus on what kind of country we want to have after Brexit.

In the coming weeks Labour will lay out our policies to unlock opportunities for every single person in this country.

We will focus on giving people real control over their own lives and make sure that everybody reaps a just reward for the work that they do.

We will no longer allow those at the top to leach off of those who bust their guts on zero hours contracts or those forced to make sacrifices to pay their mortgage or their rent.

Instead of the country’s wealth being hidden in tax havens we will put it in the hands of the people of Britain as they are the ones who earned it.

In this election Labour will lead the movement to make that change.

We will build a new economy, worthy of the 21st century and we will build a country for the many not the few.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Easter Message

Below is the text of the Easter Message from Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, from 17 April 2017.

I would like to wish everyone a happy Easter this weekend.

As millions mark Easter around the world, it’s a time to reflect on the challenges we face both at home and internationally – and what our response should be.

We hear painful stories every day, of homelessness, poverty or crisis in our health service – or across the world, of the devastating consequences of war and conflict, including millions forced to become refugees.

It would be easy to retreat into our private lives because the challenges seem overwhelming, or allow ourselves to be divided and blame others. But we need to respond to these problems head on, through action and support for social justice, peace and reconciliation.

Those principles are at the heart of Christianity. And Christians throughout the world will this weekend be remembering Jesus’s example of love and sacrifice, and the Easter message of redemption and peace.

At a time of growing conflict, that message of peace could not have more urgency throughout the world.

I meet Christians, and others of all faiths and none on a daily basis, who share and live those ideals: people who give their time for others, to run food banks, protect the vulnerable, look after the sick, the elderly and our young people.

That spirit of respect for each other, peace and equality is one we can all share. So to all Christians and those of all faiths and none, have a happy and peaceful Easter.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Statement on Westminster Terror Attack

Below is the text of the statement made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, on 23 March 2017.

What happened yesterday was an appalling atrocity.

Today, we are united by our humanity, by our democratic values and by that human impulse for solidarity to stand together in times of darkness and adversity.

I express my condolences to the family and friends of PC Keith Palmer, who gave his life yesterday in defence of the public and our democracy – and to the loved ones of those still in a critical condition including the French schoolchildren visiting our capital from Concarneau in Brittany. The injured include people of ten nationalities. Innocent people were killed yesterday walking across Westminster Bridge as many millions of Londoners and tourists have done before them.

I thank all the dedicated NHS staff working to save lives, including those from St Thomas’ Hospital who rushed out to help those in need. We are grateful for the public service workers who yesterday, today and every day they pull on their uniforms.

It behoves us all not to rush to judgement, but to wait for the police to establish the facts. We must stay united in our communities and not to allow fear or the voices of hatred to divide or cower us.

It is by demonstrating our values of solidarity, community, humanity and love that we will defeat the poison and division of hatred.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Speech on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, in Peterborough on 10 January 2017.

Thank you for that introduction.

Whether you voted to Leave or to Remain, you voted for a better future for Britain.

One thing is clear, the Tories cannot deliver that. So today I want to set how Labour will deliver that vision of a better Britain.

This government is in disarray over Brexit.

As the Prime Minister made clear herself they didn’t plan for it before the referendum and they still don’t have a plan now.

I voted and campaigned to remain and reform as many of you may know I was not uncritical of the European Union. It has many failings.

Some people argued that we should have a second referendum. That case was put to our party’s membership last summer and defeated.

Britain is now leaving the European Union. And Britain can be better off after Brexit. But that’s far from inevitable and it certainly won’t happen with a government that stands by whilst wages and salaries are driven down, industry is hollowed out and public services are cut to the point of breakdown.

Because while the European Union has many problems so does Britain in the hands of Theresa May after six years of Conservative misrule.

Our social care system is failing to provide essential care for people with disabilities and over a million of our elderly people.

The NHS is in record deficit; nearly 4 million people are on waiting lists, the Red Cross is describing the state of our emergency health and social care as a ‘humanitarian crisis’.

Our jobs market is being turned into a sea of insecurity, six million workers in Britain earning less than the living wage, nearly a million people on zero hours contracts, record numbers of people in work living in poverty while in fat cat Britain, the chief executives had already received more than most people will earn all year by the third day of January.

My point is this, I don’t trust this government with social care, or with the NHS or with the labour market.

So do I trust them to make a success of Brexit? Not remotely.

Only a Labour government, determined to reshape the economy so that it works for all, in every part of the country, can make Brexit work for Britain.

And there can be no question of giving Theresa May’s Tories a free pass in the Brexit negotiations to entrench and take still further their failed free market policies in a post-Brexit Britain.

The Tory Brexiteers , whose leaders are now in the government and their Ukip allies had no more of a plan for a Brexit vote than the Tory remainers, like Theresa May.

They did however promise that Brexit would guarantee funding for the NHS, to the tune of £350 million a week. It was on the side of Boris Johnson’s bus.

What’s happened to that promise now the NHS and social care are in serious crisis? It’s already been ditched.
And it’s not just on the NHS. We have had no answers from the government about any of their plans or objectives for these complex Brexit negotiations.

At no point since the Second World War has Britain’s ruling elite so recklessly put the country in such an exposed position without a plan.

As a result they are now reduced to repeating ‘Brexit means Brexit’. They are unfit to negotiate Brexit.

That is why Labour has demanded the government come to Parliament and set out their plan before they present it to Brussels and explain what they want to achieve for our country.

But in the glaring absence of a government plan Labour also believes it’s time to spell out more clearly what we believe the country’s Brexit objectives should be.

People voted for Brexit on the promise that Britain outside the European Union could be a better place for all its citizens. Whatever their colour or creed. A chance to regain control over our economy, our democracy and people’s lives.

But beyond vague plans to control borders the only concrete commitment the government has so far made is to protect the financial interests in the City of London. Though maybe that’s hardly surprising from a government that has already slashed the bank levy and corporation tax.

In the last budget there was not a penny extra for the NHS or social care but under the Tories there’s always billions available for giveaways to the richest.

As far as Labour is concerned, the referendum result delivered a clear message.

First, that Britain must leave the EU and bring control of our democracy and our economy closer to home.

Second, that people would get the resources they were promised to rebuild the NHS.

Third, that people have had their fill of an economic system and an establishment that works only for the few, not for the many.

And finally, that their concerns about immigration policy would be addressed.

Labour accepts those challenges that you, the voters, gave us.

Unlike the Tories, Labour will insist on a Brexit that works not just for City interests but in the interests of us all.

That puts health and social care, decent jobs and living standards first and a better deal for young people and the areas of this country that have been left behind for too long.

First, we will open the way to rebuilding our NHS by ending the under-funding and privatisation of health care.

Leaving the EU won’t free up the £350m a week that Boris Johnson claimed but savings in EU contributions could help close the gap.

And we will reject pressure to privatise public services as part of any Brexit settlement. Just as we oppose the attempt to give special legal privileges to corporate interests as part of the EU’s CETA or TTIP trade deals.

This government could have given the NHS the funding it needs but it has chosen not to. Their tax giveaways to the very richest and to big business hand back £70 billion between now and 2022.

That is more of a priority for the Tories than elderly people neglected in their homes, patients dying on trolleys or millions waiting in pain to get the treatment they need.

Labour created the NHS, and it is only safe under a Labour government. We will give the NHS the funding it needs. The British people voted to re-finance the NHS – and we will deliver it.

Second, we will push to maintain full access to the European single market to protect living standards and jobs.

But we will also press to repatriate powers from Brussels for the British government to develop a genuine industrial strategy essential for the economy of the future, and so that no community is left behind.

Tory governments have hidden behind EU state aid rules because they don’t want to intervene. They did so again last year when the steel industry was in trouble. Other governments in Europe acted and saved their industry, the Tory government here sat back.

But EU rules can also be a block on the action that’s needed to support our economy, decent jobs and living standards.

Labour will use state aid powers in a drive to build a new economy, based on new technology and the green industries of the future.

That’s why Labour has set out proposals for a National Investment Bank with regional investment banks that will decide the priorities for their areas. A massive programme of investment that will be needed to rebuild regional economies.

This country is far too centralized. So we will take back powers over regional policy. And instead of such decisions being made in Brussels or in London, we will make sure they taken locally wherever possible. Taking back real control and putting power and resources right into the heart of local communities to target investment where it’s needed.

Third, we will use the huge spending leverage of taxpayer-funded services to massively expand the number of proper apprenticeships.

All firms with a government or council contract over £250,000 will be required to pay tax in the UK and train young people.

No company will receive taxpayer-funded contracts if it, or its parent company, is headquartered in a tax haven.

And we will not buy outsourced public services, such as care for the elderly, from companies whose owners and executives are creaming off profits to stuff their pockets at the expense of the workforce and the public purse.

Finally, a Labour Brexit would take back control over our jobs market which has been seriously damaged by years of reckless deregulation.

During the referendum campaign, many people expressed deep concerns about unregulated migration from the EU.

In many sectors of the economy, from IT to health and social care, migrant workers make an important contribution to our common prosperity, and in many parts of the country public services depend on migrant labour.

This government has been saying it will reduce migration to the tens of thousands. Theresa May as Home Secretary set an arbitrary political target knowing full well it would not be met.

They inflamed the issue of immigration. They put immense strain on public services with six years of extreme cuts and then blamed migrants for the pressure caused by Tory austerity.

And last week a Government minister who voted ‘Leave’ told an employers’ conference, “don’t worry, we’ll still let you bring in cheap EU labour”.
Unlike the Tories, Labour will not offer false promises on immigration targets or sow division by scapegoating migrants because we know where that leads. The worrying rise in race hate crime and division we have seen in recent months and how the issue of immigration can be used as a proxy to abuse or intimidate minority communities.

Labour is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle, but I don’t want that to be misinterpreted, nor do we rule it out.

When it comes to border controls, we are proud to say we will meet our international obligations to refugees fleeing wars and persecution.

To those EU citizens who are already here, we will guarantee your rights.

And we continue to welcome international students who come to study in this country.

We cannot afford to lose full access to the European markets on which so many British businesses and jobs depend.

Changes to the way migration rules operate from the EU will be part of the negotiations.

Labour supports fair rules and the reasonable management of migration as part of the post-Brexit relationship with the EU, while putting jobs and living standards first in the negotiations.

At the same time, taking action against undercutting of pay and conditions, closing down cheap labour loopholes, banning exclusive advertising of jobs abroad and strengthening workplace protections would have the effect of reducing numbers of EU migrant workers in the most deregulated sectors, regardless of the final Brexit deal.

Of course migration has put a strain on public services in some areas that’s why Labour would restore the Migrant Impact Fund that the Tories scrapped.

Sarah Champion is leading for Labour on our policies to ensure better integration and more community cohesion and part of that again will be about restoring funding for English language lessons.

Let’s not forget it was this Tory government that slashed funding for learning English as a second language. As we’ve seen with the Prime Minister talking about the need to strengthen mental health care, while cutting funding by 8 per cent it seems the government’s second language is hypocrisy.

It is the ripping up of workplace protections and trade union rights that has allowed unscrupulous employers to exploit both migrant and British labour, and help to keep pay low, and drive down conditions for everyone.

But let’s be clear, public services are not under pressure primarily because of immigration – especially since many migrant workers keep those public services going.

They are under pressure because this Tory government has cut them to fund tax break after tax break to the super rich and big business.
That is the Tory game – low taxes for the rich, low pay for the rest, underfund public services, and find someone to blame , It’s brutal and it’s not working.

Labour will break with this failed model and offer solutions to problems, not someone to blame.

Labour will demand that the Brexit negotiations give us the power to intervene decisively to prevent workers, from here or abroad, being used and exploited to undermine pay and conditions at work.

We need a drive to provide British people with the skills necessary to take up the new jobs which a Labour government and the new economy will generate. I’ve already set out at the CBI and TUC conferences that this means asking companies to pay a bit more in tax to fund more and better access to education and skills training, and government contractors always providing decent skilled apprenticeships.

We will end the race to the bottom in pay, working conditions and job insecurity, setting up a new Ministry of Labour to get a grip on the anything goes jobs market free-for-all.

Labour will ensure all workers have equal rights at work from day one – and require collective bargaining agreements in key sectors in a properly regulated labour market, so that workers cannot be undercut.

That will bring an end to the unscrupulous use of agency labour and bogus self-employment, to stop undercutting and to ensure every worker has a secure job with secure pay, that’s why we’ll set the minimum wage at the level of the living wage, expected to be £10 per hour by 2020.

Those changes should be made to benefit the whole country.

But while we tackle low pay at the bottom, we also have to address the excess that drives that poverty pay that leaves millions of people in poverty even though they work.

In the 1920s, J.P. Morgan, the Wall Street banker limited salaries to 20 times that of junior employees.

Another advocate of pay ratios was David Cameron. His government proposed a 20:1 pay ratio to limit sky-high pay in the public sector and now all salaries higher than £150,000 must be signed off by the Cabinet Office.

Labour will go further and extend that to any company that is awarded a government contract.

A 20:1 ratio means someone earning the living wage, just over £16,000 a year, would permit an executive to be earning nearly £350,000. It cannot be right that if companies are getting public money that that can be creamed off by a few at the top.

But there is a wider point too. 20 years ago the top bosses of the FTSE 100 companies earned just under 50 times their average worker, today that figure is now 130 times. Last year alone, the top bosses got a 10 per cent pay rise, far higher than those doing the work in the shops, in the call centres, in the warehouses.

So what can we do?

… We could allow consumers to judge for themselves, with a government-backed kitemark for those companies that have agreed pay ratios between the pay of the highest and lowest earners with a recognised trade union.

… We could ask for executive pay to be signed off by remuneration committees on which workers have a majority.

… We could ensure higher earners pay their fair share by introducing a higher rate of income tax on the highest 5 percent or 1 percent of incomes.

… We could offer lower rates of corporation tax for companies that don’t pay anyone more than a certain multiple of the pay of the lowest earner.

There are many options. But what we cannot accept is a society in which a few earn the in two and a bit days, what a nurse, a shop worker, a teacher do in a year. That cannot be right.

This is not about limiting aspiration or penalising success, it’s about recognising that success is a collective effort and rewards must be shared.

We cannot have the CEO paying less tax than the cleaner and pretending they are worth thousands times more than the lowest paid staff.

So this is Labour’s vision for Britain after Brexit.
Labour will not block the referendum vote when the time comes in Parliament, we will vote for Article 50.

But as the Opposition we will ensure the government is held to account for its negotiating demands.

At the moment they are in total disarray, on Brexit, on the NHS and social care, on the pay in your pocket.

Labour will build a better Britain out of Brexit.

That will start with the refinancing of the NHS and the creation of a more equal country, in which power and wealth is more fairly shared amongst our communities. A genuinely inclusive society with strong and peaceful relations with the rest of the world.

This is Labour’s New Year pledge to the British people.