Jonathan Ashworth MP: It's time to hold the Tories to account
Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Jonathan Ashworth MP argues the Labour leadership contest has let the Conservative Government off the hook in its first 100 days on issues like broken promises on childcare, delays to rail electrification and false DWP claims supporting welfare reforms.
If you’d been paying attention to the news this summer you’d be forgiven for thinking that the only thing happening in politics was the Labour leadership contest. While the Labour Party debates its future, the Conservative Government, now past its first 100 days in office, have been lurching from one broken promise to the next.
The Government mess has been typified by the shambolic handling of the collapse of Kids’ Company, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. This has truly been a summer of incompetence for the Conservatives and Labour mustn’t allow David Cameron and George Osborne to get away with broken promises made just months ago.
Whatever our party's own preoccupations, we must never let up in exposing how the Tories are hurting the opportunities, livelihoods and wellbeing of our pensioners, working families and young people.
Take the sudden u-turn on electrification of some of the most important midland and northern train routes, which has shown the Government’s pre-election claims about a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and ‘Midlands Engine’ to be hollow rhetoric whilst threatening to damage other regional economies, not least in my own constituency in Leicester.
That’s not the only broken promise. 3 million families were told there would be no tax credit cuts before the election. What’s more the much publicised ‘tax free childcare’ will not be introduced until 2017, rather than this year, is another slap in the face for all those hard working people George Osborne these days tries to claim he champions.
But it’s not just family finances that have been hit.
They’ve scrapped the 18 week referral to treatment target meaning thousands will have to wait longer for NHS care.
They’ve downgraded the number of affordable homes that will be built, meaning more and more people will have to wait longer to get on the property ladder.
They’ve announced that some Universities may be able to raise tuition fees even further from 2017/2018 – after already raising them to £9000 a year in their first term.
And they’ve delayed the reforms to social care, whereby costs would be capped at £72,000, until 2020 – meaning more people face uncertainty with how to pay for their social care needs later in life.
Topping all of this off, Iain Duncan Smith’s Department for Work and Pensions caught out making up claimants who supported their welfare reforms. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.
The Tories stood on a platform to deliver a 'brighter. more secure future', but for many the future will now appear bleak and insecure. It has taken just weeks of a Tory government to remind us how important having a Labour government is.
The Labour Party cannot to continue to look inwards – we must confront David Cameron on every broken promise. The British people are counting on us to hold the Tories to account.
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