Labour vote will help councils withstand 'onslaught' of cuts, says Jeremy Corbyn


Voting Labour will help councils withstand an "onslaught" of cuts from the Tory Government, Jeremy Corbyn will claim as he launches his party's local election campaign.

The Labour leader will step up his party's campaign against the Government's plan to turn state schools in England into academies, claiming it will cost £1 billion at a time when spending is being squeezed.

Mr Corbyn will aim to put Labour's approach to creating a "fairer economy" at the centre of his pitch to voters, claiming David Cameron's administration is "making the wrong choices and has the wrong priorities".

At an event in Harlow, the Labour leader will hit out at the Government's plan to turn all England's primary and secondary schools into academies by 2022, taking them out of local authority control.

He will say "this Conservative Government which tells us it can no longer afford nurses bursaries, can no longer afford student grants, that imposed the Bedroom Tax, this Conservative Government is prepared to spend over £1 billion on the forced academisation of every school, shutting parents out of a say in the running out of their children's schools, when even their own Conservative councillors don't want it, teachers don't want it, and parents don't want it".

Mr Corbyn will continue: "This Conservative Government is making the wrong choices and has the wrong priorities. In the last Parliament they cut over £4 billion from adult social care, the budget to look after elderly people in their homes, yet found billions to give huge tax breaks to big corporations and the highest earners.

"Just last month, in the Budget, they tried to take away up to £150 per week from disabled people to fund tax cuts for the wealthiest.

"They cut flood defence funding and left people unprotected in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria last winter."

Labour councils, he will insist, are the best defence against cuts imposed by the Conservatives.

"Electing a Labour council is the best protection for your community against the onslaught from this Conservative Government," he will say.

Dozens of Labour administrations are insisting that contractors pay a "real living wage" to their staff, councils run by the party are building council housing and "making better choices".

Labour's four-pronged strategy for the May 5 elections include creating a fairer economy, based on investing public money to deliver growth and reducing the benefits bill by creating jobs, tackling low pay and bringing down the cost of housing.

Other elements of the plan include investing in new affordable housing, opposing cuts to frontline policing in order to keep bobbies on the beat and protecting the NHS by integrating health and social services. 

The Labour leader will also use his speech to urge the Prime Minister to "stop pussyfooting around" over tackling international tax avoidance in the wake of the Panama Papers leak. 

He will also accuse ministers of having an "ideological allergy to public ownership" which is preventing them from taking a stake in Britain's crisis-hit steel industry following Tata's decision to put its business in the country up for sale.

Mr Corbyn will say the Government "must take a public stake to guarantee steel's future and make sure that any financial support brings a return to the public".