Labour brands Theresa May's vision for the future as 'small, mean and nasty'

'Where we did see shifts it was appropriating Labour policies'

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Theresa May’s vision for Britain’s future, set out in her first conference speech as Prime Minister,  is “small, mean, and nasty” , according to Labour.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow minister without portfolio, responding to Ms May’s 59-minute speech to Conservative delegates in Birmingham, said it seemed her party were “still the same old Nasty Party”.

Here is Labour’s statement in full:

“This should have been the conference where Theresa May outlined a detailed plan to secure British jobs and prosperity in face of Brexit. She failed that test. Instead we have seen divisive offensive wedge politics and a drive into a ‘hard Brexit’ that risks jobs and growth.

“Instead of promoting our HE sector the Tories want to make it more difficult for students to study here; instead of celebrating the contribution of doctors and NHS staff who save the lives of British people, the Tories want them to pack their bags; and instead of introducing measures to prevent exploitation in the labour market the Tories want to force companies to publish list of foreign workers. It’s not a considered approach to employment policy, its crass offensive politics. It seems Theresa May’s Tories are still the same old Nasty Party.

“Theresa May was heavy on rhetoric about being on the side of ‘fairness’ and ‘opportunity’ but it’s all we got was more of the same failed Tory approach which has seen the slowest economic recovery since 1920 , tax breaks for the top while VAT goes up for the rest, tuition fees trebled, 19,000 Police axed and an NHS in crisis with patients waiting longer and hospitals in financial meltdown.

“She talked about building a “great meritocracy” but their only answer is a leap backwards to the bad old days, promoting grammar schools which benefit only a few, while the many suffer under the Tory teacher crisis which is pushing thousands of children into over-sized classes.

“Where we did see shifts it was appropriating Labour policies. She talked about workers on boards, limited action to deal with energy prices and has abandoned the surplus target which we consistently warned would not be met. Labour will be watching closely to ensure these aren’t just more empty promises from a Prime Minister who has left the British economy with no fiscal framework and is pressing ahead with cuts to in-work benefits, and local authority funding. That’s not on the side of ordinary working class people it’s the same old Tories helping just the privileged few.

“This week was about Theresa May finally outlining her vision. It’s now clear what that vision is not optimistic about the future but small, mean and nasty. This is not a shift to the centre ground but a shift to the right.”

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