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CLAIMS of an end to austerity will be “a great big Conservative con” if public-sector spending is not boosted, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned today.
Mr Corbyn pressed Theresa May during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on how she plans to end the funding cuts on police, the NHS, schools, councils and disabled people.
The Prime Minister vowed to end austerity at the Tory Party conference last week.
“Today there are 5,000 fewer mental health nurses than there were in 2010,” Mr Corbyn said.
“When will austerity be over for the mental health services?”
Mr Corbyn also hit out at “eight years of painful austerity.”
He added: “Poverty is up. Homelessness and deaths on our streets is up. Living standards down. Public services slashed. A million elderly are not getting the care they need. Wages have been eroded.
“And all the while, billions were found for tax giveaways for big corporations and the super-rich.
“Unless the Budget halts the cuts, increases funding to public services, gives our public servants a decent pay rise, then isn’t the claim that austerity is over simply a great big Conservative con?”
Chancellor Philip Hammond will be announcing the next Budget on October 29.
Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner exposed Ms May’s use of misleading statistics on school funding, two days after the UK Statistics Authority rebuked the Education Secretary for using the same statistics.
During PMQs, Ms May said “next year per-pupil funding is being protected in real terms.”
However, analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that per-pupil spending, on both primary and secondary school pupils, is projected to fall in the next fiscal year.
Ms Rayner said: “Either this is a government in such total chaos that the Prime Minister was not even aware of the ruling by the authority, or she has deliberately repeated a wildly misleading figure in defiance of independent advice and in the full knowledge that it is wildly misleading.
“The Tories have already cut billions of pounds from school budgets and per-pupil funding is falling, not rising, in real terms.
“It is a clear breach of the ministerial code to deliberately mislead Parliament.”
Ms Rayner added that if austerity “really is over,” this month’s Budget must reverse cuts and provide “desperately needed” investments.
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