Corbyn: Labour must do more to win its traditional heartlands
Leader’s pledge on funding social care
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.
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.