The Government should end cuts to emergency services like police and fire rescue in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, Jeremy Corbyn has said.
Labour has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s Speech that would end the cuts and also lift the public sector pay cap to give public service workers a wage increase.
The amendment is expected to be voted on on Wednesday before the final vote on the Queen’s Speech, which lays out the Government’s programme for the two-year parliamentary session.
Mr Corbyn said: “You can’t have safety and security on the cheap. It is plain to see that seven years of cuts to our emergency services has made us less safe; it’s time to make a change.
“Our emergency service workers make us proud at the worst of times for our country, such as the Grenfell Tower Fire and the recent terrorist attacks, and deserve the pay rise they have been denied for seven years.
“Conservative cuts have failed. Labour has a different approach, which values those who look after us and will transform Britain for the many not the few.”
Labour made progress during the general election campaign by criticising Conservative cuts to the police, which the party said had made Britain less safe in the wake of a series of terror attacks.
Theresa May reportedly told her MPs that the era of austerity following the 2008 financial crisis is now over – though no extra spending has been outlined by the Government other than a £1 billion payment to Northern Ireland.
The Conservatives were forced to junk most of the flagship policies in their manifesto after losing their majority in a shock general election result.
A Conservative spokesperson rejected the Labour motion and said funding emergency services would not be possible during a recession.
“We are all indebted to our emergency services and their heroic responses to recent terror attacks, the bravery seen at Grenfell Tower, and the work every day that has seen crime cut by a third,” he said.
“We've protected the police budget since 2015 while Labour wanted to cut it by 10 per cent - and the number of fire incidents has halved in the last decade. We have also given the police and intelligence agencies given the powers they need to respond to increased threats and keep people safe.
“But the truth is you can't fund your emergency services without a growing, healthy economy which only Conservatives in Government will deliver – that’s why we have put forward a Queen’s speech that will build a stronger economy so we can improve people’s living standards and fund public services. Jeremy Corbyn and Labour's prescription of tax rises and limitless borrowing would put all that at risk.”
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