Tristram Hunt calls for Labour to return to 'core purpose' of combating inequality

Former shadow Education Secretary will urge party to have 'challenging conversations' about role of class

Charlie Cooper
Whitehall Correspondent
Sunday 06 December 2015 21:51
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Tristram Hunt wants the Labour Party to get back to its core purpose of combatting inequality
Tristram Hunt wants the Labour Party to get back to its core purpose of combatting inequality

Tristram Hunt will tomorrow make an appeal for Labour to get back to its core purpose of combatting inequality – urging the party to have “challenging conversations” about the role of class in entrenching unfairness in society.

In a speech to the Fabian Society in London, Mr Hunt will seek to shift the focus from Labour in-fighting to the party’s “core” purpose.

“Every Labour generation needs to explain afresh why the struggle against inequality is core to our political purpose,” he will say. “For me it is about the scars of poverty and the almost criminal waste of talent.”

However, he will warn that Labour must now view inequality only in terms of income.

“Too often we in the Labour Party reduce it to one [thing]: income poverty. A big one, certainly. But very much not the full picture. If we want a nation of equals we need to talk frankly and honestly about class. We need to explore all the persistent inequalities of condition which allow privilege to sustain itself.

“And we need to have difficult, challenging conversations about access to culture, social capital, family breakdown, parenting, community, neighbourhood, work, housing access, informal networks, civic pride, faith in education and so much more besides.”

Calling for investment in children’s services and other areas of public spending to combat inequality “upstream”, he will also urge the party not to rely on “moral outrage” about inequality to win votes, but to also appeal to people’s sense of aspiration.

“We need to demonstrate much more effectively how inequality blights ordinary lives, and how it stops people getting on and enjoying a better life.

“If we are serious about aspiration, serious about opportunity, serious about helping people get on and improve their fortunes, then we need to acknowledge inequality is a barrier to all of those things too.”

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