`

Party promises evoke Gala spirit

Ian Lavery MP. Picture by Jane Coltman
Ian Lavery MP. Picture by Jane Coltman

Labour will take the true spirit of the Durham Miners’ Gala into Downing Street when we win the next general election so that we can build a country for the many, not the few, was the message I delivered from the speakers’ platform at the ‘Big Meeting’ last weekend.

Standing alongside our party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, I promised that a future Labour government would hold an inquiry into the policing of the 1984 strike; that we would ensure the miners’ pension scheme debacle was sorted fairly once and for all; and that we will deliver a manifesto of fairness and basic ideas that would transform the lives of millions of people.

We will, I said, ensure public services are properly funded and the public sector pay cap is ended; give the NHS the resources it needs to care for the people of this country; set up a National Education Service to ensure a lifelong path into learning for our young people; put fairness back into the workplace and introduce a real living wage of £10 an hour, as well as putting into place regional investment banks to deliver jobs, stimulate local economies and give hope to communities that have long felt neglected.

I reminded those listening that after eight years the Conservatives have led our public services to the verge of collapse; that our schools could be £1.7 billion worse off by 2020; and that the number of police officers has fallen by almost 20,000 in seven years, while fire services have lost more than a quarter of their specialist fire safety staff.

I said that three million people work in insecure jobs; 60 per cent of those living in poverty are from working households; and the number of children growing up in poverty has increased by one million while the Tories have been in power.

Finally, I pledged that the Labour Party is proud to uphold the same values the Gala has stood for over so many years and that, as a government, we will put them into practice when we are handed the keys to 10 Downing Street. It is a pledge we intend to deliver.