Labour leader calls on Osborne to step down

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Pic: PA Wire

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Pic: PA Wire

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on George Osborne to “consider his position” after Iain Duncan Smith resigned over cuts to disabled benefits.

He accused the Government of slashing the payments provision out of “political choice not economic necessity” and insisted the Chancellor should step down.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

“He (Osborne) presented a budget that included taking a billion pounds, more than a billion in fact, away from those with disabilities through the Personal Independence Payments and then he says it was all a consultation,” he said in an interview with Press Association.

“Somewhere along the line that budget can’t add up and so I think IDS, Ian Duncan Smith, has resigned because his policy has been completely shown to be what it is.

“I think George Osborne should consider his position as well, it was after all him that included it in the Budget in the first place.”

Mr Corbyn said Labour would not support any cuts to the benefits system and added: “I think that the people who are trying to survive on benefits in this country do so because they are hard up, do so because they are on low wages.

“I want to see a much lower benefit bill in the future, we achieve that by higher levels of employment and crucially higher wages, therefore a realistic living wage is something that we want to achieve.”

He added: “We (the Labour Party) don’t support the benefit cap on families because the family benefit cap has been very damaging, particularly in high-cost areas like London, and indeed in my own constituency many have been forced out of it.

“We do want to see a control of the very high levels of private-sector rent that many are paying in London.

“We haven’t reached all of our conclusions on housing policy yet but quite clearly there has to be a change.”

Speaking at a pro-European Union event in Westminster, he accused the Government of “taking disability allowance to give tax breaks to corporations at the other end of the scale - it’s their political choice, not an economic necessity”.

Addressing the issue of air pollution in London, the Labour leader continued: “We’ve just come from Vauxhall Bridge where we have tested the pollution levels and it’s truly shocking when you look at the figures across London.

“There is a 10% lung capacity loss for children born in areas with high air pollution. Where are tomorrow’s athletes going to come from if they can’t breathe properly?”

He added: “You can’t deal with it by one country. We have to work with other people in Europe - demanding European-wide legislation and European-wide protection.”

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