Jeremy Corbyn: lifting public sector pay cap is not 'an act of charity – it is a necessity'

27th September 2017 at 13:46
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed his party's conference in Brighton.
Labour leader calls for 'increasing the public accountability and democratisation of local services'

Jeremy Corbyn has said scrapping the public pay cap is not "an act of charity" but "a necessity", in a conference speech that highlighted plans for a "cradle-to-the-grave" National Education Service.

The Labour leader, addressing delegates in Brighton this afternoon, also called for "increasing public accountability and democratisation of public services".

Speaking weeks after education secretary Justine Greening confirmed teachers would have an overall 1 per cent pay rise this year, Mr Corbyn said: "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."

Corbyn conference speech

His call for increasing public accountability and democratisation of public services echoed the 10-point charter for the proposed National Education Service, unveiled yesterday, which said it would be "accountable to the public, communities, and parents and children that it serves".

Mr Corbyn told delegates: "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 democratisation of local services..."

He criticised the record of the Conservatives in government, which he said included rising class sizes and teachers leaving, and highlighted Tory U-turns on grammar schools and scrapping free school meals for infants.

His speech came after shadow education secretary Angela Rayner yesterday outlined 10 principles of the party's proposed National Education Service.

The gathering in the Brighton also saw shadow chancellor John McDonnell pledge to bring school PFI contracts "in-house".

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