16:33 GMT28 January 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL
    0 0 0

    British prime minister Theresa May and UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn locked horns in a contest of words on Wednesday over nationwide austerity, with accusations over beleaguered sectors of the UK's economy facing further cuts and severe funding shortages.

    Speaking for the first time since both Conservative and Labour parties held annual conferences in late September, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn grilled UK prime minister Theresa May during parliamentary questions (PMQs) on the state austerity throughout the UK.

    The battle came a week after Theresa May announced an end to austerity and "better days ahead" at her keynote speech October 3. 

    Corbin started by condemning the state of mental health funding in the UK, which he stated was "way off from where it needed to be." 

    He also mentioned that the Royal College of Psychiatrists found that mental health trusts had lower incomes than 6 years ago and that children were being sent "as far as 300 miles away" for urgent treatment.  

    "It needs urgent action now," Corbyn stated, segueing into rising crime statistics caused by over layoffs to over 21,000 police officers and 7,000 police community support officers (PSCO).  

    Corbyn sternly asked: "When will austerity be over for the police?" 

    READ MORE: Sellouts: Why is the UK Giving the Private Sector More Control Over Foreign Aid? 

    May replied that long-term NHS plans from Conservatives would return £394 million to the NHS every week. "If [Corbyn] is so concerned about funding for policing, why did the Labour party oppose that extra money," she retorted. 

    Corbyn hit back, reminding the prime minister that officers were "currently taking the government to court for failing to implement the decision from the Independent Pay Review body," adding that Britain's "dedicated police officers and PSO's deserve better." 

    He also questioned the current administration's transparency, stating that the "education secretary has been rebuked four times by the statistics' watchdog" for making false claims about education funding. 

    Corbyn asked: "I know that the Prime Minister is a stickler for accuracy, so given her commitment to ending austerity, can she confirm that austerity now is over for all teachers who will receive the independently-recommended 3.5 percent pay rise?" 

    May answered that the Conservative government had given police officers the highest consolidated pay award since 2010, after former Labour PM Gordon Brown had left office, adding that "school funding this year is at a record high with the extra £1.3 billion we've put in this year and next."  

    "I recognize the pressures that schools are under," May responded, highlighting "we now see 1.9 million children in good and outstanding students" compared to 2010 partly due to reforms in education "which the Labour party would abolish". 

    Slamming May's response, Corbyn replied that "over half of teachers are getting another real-terms pay cut next year" and had been subjected to eight years of pay freezes, with the government failing "to reach recruitment targets". 

    READ MORE: Universal Credit 'Managed Migration' Causing Spike in Food Bank Use — Report 

    Corbyn later cited National Audit Office (NAO) statistics indicating central government funding had been cut 49 percent and additional funding for councils would be cut a further £1.3 billion.  

    Corbyn quoted a Northamptonshire MP stating his council "couldn't cope with the level of cuts" and a Somerset MP saying that "We are abandoned. There are no solutions coming," both whom are Conservatives. 

    Corbyn chided again: "Will the prime minister listen to her own council leaders and end austerity as she promised last week?" 

    May responded that Conservatives had provided English councils with £200 billion in community services funding from 2015 to 2020, with £1.3 over the next two years and an additional £9.6 billion pounds of dedicated funding.  

    READ MORE: Treasury Minister Wrongly Denies UK Government’s Council Austerity Plan

    "Yes, we've had to make tough decisions," she said while blaming the previous Labour government for the state of the public finances and the economy. "Good times are ahead under a Conservative government." 

    However, Corbyn lambasted Theresa May even further, stating that Britain's poorest households would lose £745 per annum after cuts, citing an Equality and Human Rights' Commission report stating worsening rights for disabled persons, with eight years of austerity causing increasing poverty, homelessness and decreased funding for public services, wages and elderly care.  

    "The Prime Minister declared that she is ending austerity," Corbyn said, mentioning that without major changes, "Isn't the claim that austerity is over simply a great big Conservative con?"


    Treasury Minister Wrongly Denies UK Government’s Council Austerity Plan
    'Tories Are Using Austerity to Divide and Rule' - Author
    Watchdog: Rise in Deaths Following Police Contact Caused by UK Austerity Policy
    Is Austerity Over? UK Government Agrees NHS Pay Deal With Unions
    parliamentary debate, UK Houses of Parliament, debates, British Labour Party, Conservative Party, Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May, United Kingdom
    Community standardsDiscussion