Jeremy Corbyn: Labour will be on your side and put public transport first if I win election

Jeremy Corbyn is leader of the Labour Party.

I always enjoy coming to Yorkshire and I’ve spent four days here in the last few weeks. The hidden depths of Yorkshire’s people and landscape never cease to impress me.

My most recent visit was not the first time I’ve seen those affected by floods in Yorkshire since becoming Labour leader. The Boxing Day floods of 2015 caused devastation across the region, and this year’s floods have been just as heart-breaking for so many families.

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Last month, in Conisbrough, I met a family of five being moved into another family’s home. They had lost everything and were crammed in with their friends - another family of five. Their resilience and spirit was incredible but no one should be forced to spend Christmas like that.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, holds up his party's manifesto. Credit: Aaron Chown/PA WireLabour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, holds up his party's manifesto. Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, holds up his party's manifesto. Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Over a decade ago, Conservative leader David Cameron admitted climate change would increase the regularity of flooding in England.

Then his government cut flood defence spending and river management by nearly a third - and opened up a north-south divide in flood defence spending. Labour will put £5.6bn into flood defences; because the first duty of a government is to keep people safe and because prevention is better than cure.

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This is one example of how a Labour government will be on your side.

The Tories either do not consider or do not care about the consequences of their actions in Yorkshire, on flooding or elsewhere.

In the 1980s they laid waste to manufacturing and the traditional industries that were closely tied to so many communities and so many good jobs; abandoning those communities in the process. In the last 10 years they have gone even further; closing schools, hospitals and fire stations, and allowing low wages, poverty and homelessness to surge.

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The Conservatives promised a “Northern Powerhouse” but they have starved Yorkshire’s potential.

Under the Tories, Yorkshire will get seven times less transport investment per person than London. The Yorkshire Post and other newspapers across this region know all too well the need for investment, and I commend the Power Up the North campaign for putting the needs of the North at the heart of this election.

Without affordable, reliable transport, business and opportunities suffer – that is why Labour will build Crossrail for the North to connect millions of people across northern towns and cities and cutting fares by a third. And we will take rail, mail, water and energy transmission into public ownership to cut bills and put people, not profiteers, first.

This is one way in which Labour will money back in your pocket.

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Investing in transport serves another purpose – as part of our Green Industrial Revolution we will tackle the global threat of climate change by reviving Britain’s regions and putting them at the forefront of the industries of the future. Labour will bring 100,000 green jobs to Yorkshire and fund carbon capture and storage.

We will lead a revolution in living standards. We’ll connect over two million households and businesses across the region to full fibre broadband.

And we will build 10,000 new, top quality council and social homes a year as well as insulating existing homes, while our Real Living Wage of £10 per hour will immediately put money in the pockets of 700,000 workers struggling to make ends meet.

Income tax rates, National Insurance and VAT will not increase for 95 per cent of people. We will ask the top five per cent of earners to pay a little more.

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At the same time we will rebuild the education and healthcare systems which Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have ruined.

Last week I revealed documents showing Johnson is happy to use Brexit to put our NHS up for sale to Trump’s America where an ambulance ride costs thousands. In or out of the EU, we will not allow this to happen. We will give the NHS the funding it needs to provide care to all.

We will end overcrowded classrooms, relieve overworked teachers, and fund free school meals for all, make higher education free and increase access to adult education. With free personal care, and providing compensation for women born in the 1950s who had their pensions stolen, we will ensure dignity in later years for everyone.

All we need to do is the one thing the Conservatives always refuse to do – ask the very richest and the corporations to pay their fair share.

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The Conservatives received £5.6m in just one week from millionaires and billionaires because Boris Johnson will do whatever it takes to stop his privileged friends from having to pay their fair share toward the cost of building Britain’s future.

But it’s not just about money, it is about power. In the last decade power has flowed out of Yorkshire and into Westminster.

Labour will reverse this, localising decision making and creating a regional development bank which communities will control. Our manifesto reiterates our commitment to One Yorkshire, and we’ll decentralise decision-making and strengthen local democracy so that under Labour, everyone has a say.

This election gives Yorkshire a once in a generation chance to undo a decade of cuts, neglect and managed decline by the Conservatives and deliver the real change Britain needs.

Yorkshire deserves better than a Conservative government.