This is the full response to Theresa May’s speech published today by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey.
This speech sorely over-promised and seriously under-delivered.
Theresa May spoke of a ‘British dream’, of opportunity and fairness down the generations. The truth is that her party’s policies have meant that millions of people are living in a Tory nightmare of ever-rising living costs and ever-shrinking incomes.
Her claims to stand up to ‘vested interests’ will be news to those of us who saw her shrink time and again from tackling fat cat pay and abusive zero hours contracts.
Yet again, a Tory prime minster has praised our NHS and emergency heroes, but still cannot see fit to end the pay cap that has made them thousands of pounds poorer.
Trumpeting so-called Conservative compassion, while food bank use is at an all-time high and her mismanaged universal credit roll-out plunges low paid workers into penury over Christmas, simply confirms a Tory party existing in a parallel universe.
Indeed, jaws will have hit the floor when the PM tried to claim that the Tories were the party of justice for the victims at Hillsborough. The people who have been fighting for justice for the 96 are the people of Liverpool, with little or no help from the Tory party.
Of course money to build more affordable housing is welcome, but the sum announced today is a long way short of what is urgently needed to address the crisis. It doesn’t even replace the funding Osborne slashed in 2010, which did so much to cause rents to spiral and super-charge the shortage.
Mrs May apologised to the Tories for her electoral failure but it is to the people of this country – exhausted by austerity and tired of Tory failure – to whom she should really be saying sorry.
The prime minister is right about one thing though: Britain can do better than this. Labour will reverse the Tories’ tired, failing approach to build a better and fairer Britain.
With the Tories it is more senseless austerity, a stagnant economy where big business profits on the backs of low-paid workers, and a party that squabbles over Brexit while workers’ jobs and rights are placed in peril.
This is now about the best future for the country and the people of our country. Only Labour can act in the national, not narrow party interest. And only Labour can deliver for the many, not the few.