Jeremy Corbyn brands Theresa May’s austerity pledge a ‘Conservative con’ in PMQs clash
Jeremy Corbyn has branded Theresa May’s promise to end austerity a “Conservative con” as the pair clashed over public spending.
Speaking at the first Prime Minister’s Questions since the party conference season, the Labour leader accused Mrs May of misleading the public.
In her speech at the Tory conference in Birmingham last week the Prime Minister had declared that austerity was “over” and said there were “better days ahead”.
But today Mr Corbyn said: “The Prime Minister… declared she is ending austerity.
“But unless the Budget halts the cuts, increases funding to public services, gives our public servants a decent pay rise then isn’t the claim that austerity is over simply a great big Conservative con?"
He challenged Mrs May over funding for policing, schools and local authorities, suggesting that those areas were still suffering from the effect of cuts.
He also pointed out that a string of reductions to welfare spending had still to be implemented.
But the Prime Minister hit back, insisting that her pledge to ease the squeeze on the public finances would be delivered.
“I’ve been very clear that there are better times ahead for people,” she said.
“We will see debt falling and we will see support for our public services going up. Austerity is being brought to an end.”
Although she added: “What is not being brought to an end is fiscal responsibility."
Mrs May also took aim at Labour's economic plans, saying they would lead to "working people paying the price" and return the public finances to "square one".
The heated clash comes ahead of the Autumn Budget at which Chancellor Philip Hammond will set out the latest tax-and-spend totals.
It was reported today that the Treasury could use the October 29 statement to postpone or even axe a key Conservative manifesto pledge to raise the income tax threshold.
The move would reportedly help fund the extra £20bn-a-year of NHS spending Mrs May has already committed the Government to.