Cor­byn: Labour must do more to win its tra­di­tional heart­lands

Leader’s pledge on fund­ing so­cial care

Yorkshire Post - - POLITICS & ECONOMY - JAMES REED PO­LIT­I­CAL EDI­TOR ■ Email: james.reed@ypn.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @JamesReedYP

JEREMY COR­BYN has ad­mit­ted Labour needs to do more to win over vot­ers in some of its tra­di­tional heart­land ar­eas if it is to win the next Gen­eral Elec­tion.

The Labour leader said he un­der­stood the con­cerns of those who worry that while the party won seats in June, it also saw its ma­jori­ties squeezed in some York­shire con­stituen­cies and seats lost in Stoke and Mans­field.

Some in the party have ar­gued that de­spite mak­ing gains over­all, the re­sults show Labour needs to broaden its ap­peal if it is to get back into power. Mr Cor­byn told The York­shire

Post: “I un­der­stand that and there­fore I am spend­ing time cam­paign­ing in all parts of the coun­try.

“Cru­cially, ar­eas that were for­mer steel towns, for­mer min­ing towns, have had very lit­tle in­vest­ment since the steel in­dus­try was par­tially closed down un­der the Thatcher govern­ment and the mines al­most com­pletely.

“What we’re say­ing is we will have a re­gional in­vest­ment bank, along­side a na­tional in­vest­ment bank, that would im­prove the trans­port in­fra­struc­ture in those towns but, above all, would be pre­pared to in­vest in new in­dus­tries and high-qual­ity jobs.”

Mr Cor­byn was in Shipley yes­ter­day, a seat held by the Con­ser­va­tives since 2005 and a likely tar­get seat for Labour at the next elec­tion af­ter sit­ting MP Philip Davies saw his ma­jor­ity cut to fewer than 5,000 votes in June.

The Labour leader vis­ited the Kirk­gate Cen­tre to meet older peo­ple and take part in an art class as the party seized on com­ments made by So­cial Care Min­is­ter Jackie Doyle-Price sug­gest­ing “the tax­payer shouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily be prop­ping up peo­ple to keep their prop­erty and hand it on to their chil­dren when they’re gen­er­at­ing mas­sive care needs.”

The com­ments raised fresh ques­tions about the Con­ser­va­tives’ ap­proach to so­cial care, fol­low­ing the party’s elec­tion man­i­festo pol­icy on the is­sues which was swiftly dubbed the “de­men­tia tax”.

The pol­icy was among those qui­etly dropped in the af­ter­math of the dis­as­trous elec­tion re­sult for the Con­ser­va­tives, with the Govern­ment promis­ing to set out fur­ther pro­pos­als on so­cial care fund­ing.

Mr Cor­byn re­jected the sug­ges­tion it may seem un­usual for Labour to be defending home­own­ers’ rights to pass on their prop­er­ties to their chil­dren.

He said: “We are the party that founded the Na­tional Health Ser­vice, the prin­ci­ple be­ing the com­mu­nity as a whole paid for the health­care of all of us, and if any of us get cancer or a heart con­di­tion the health ser­vice will treat us and it will be free.

“If you or I suf­fer de­men­tia at some point in our life the NHS will not be there to deal with us be­cause it is not seen as an ill­ness in that sense.

“You or I might end up los­ing our home or try­ing to re­mort­gage it in or­der to pay for our so­cial care.

“I think there has to be a real equal­ity in the way we treat peo­ple.

“We have said that we would im­me­di­ately put some money in to deal with the fund­ing cri­sis of so­cial care and, over the life­time of a par­lia­ment, we would re­dress the im­bal­ance of the £5bn that has been cut from so­cial care over the last seven years.”

Mr Cor­byn dis­missed crit­i­cism that the party’s prom­ises on so­cial care, along­side other ex­pen­sive pledges, were not clearly funded.

“We would pay for it by rais­ing tax­a­tion at the top end, cor­po­rate tax­a­tion par­tic­u­larly.

“In­deed the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund has said to­day rais­ing tax­a­tion at the top end would not have a dam­ag­ing ef­fect on the econ­omy but would have a ben­e­fi­cial ef­fect on the qual­ity of pub­lic ser­vices.

“I could have writ­ten it for them,” he said.

PIC­TURE: TONY JOHN­SON.

ART OF WIN­NING: Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn at­tends a paint­ing class dur­ing his visit to the Kirk­gate Cen­tre in Shipley, a seat which the party are tar­get­ing.

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