Labour has just unleashed some powerful pledges on its National Education Service. And in one knockout sentence, party leader Jeremy Corbyn said everything we need to know about the difference between Labour and Tory priorities.
Investment in ordinary people or investment in billionaires?
Corbyn first said that “by ensuring the ultra-rich pay their way, we can provide training to everyone who needs it”. And then, with a clear reference to Conservative Party plans to save wealthy citizens billions of pounds, he insisted:
Personally, I’d rather give a break to a worker who wants to learn than give a tax break to the billionaire who wants for nothing.
To clarify, he stressed “that’s the difference between Labour and the Conservatives”. He also revealed that “it makes me angry when I hear of schools closing on a Friday because they can’t pay their bills, while the government can afford multi-billion-pound tax giveaways to corporations and the very richest”.
Knockout line from Jeremy Corbyn as he hands millions of people a second chance to retrain for free … “I'd rather give a break to a worker who wants to learn, than give a tax break to a billionaire who wants for nothing"pic.twitter.com/Jk8ePJXOZD
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) November 12, 2019
‘We can’t afford not to invest in people’s education’
Labour’s education-secretary-in-waiting Angela Rayner, meanwhile, knows the power of lifelong education. Because it ‘changed her life’:
Education gave me a vital second chance that too many people still don't get. Education changes lives. It changed mine. Labour will ensure it can change yours too. #VoteLabour2019 #GeneralElection2019 #RealChange 🌹 https://t.co/7Hl7s02UXK
— Angela Rayner 🌈 (@AngelaRayner) November 12, 2019
And in her speech about adult education on 12 November, she insisted:
The Conservatives say that we cannot afford these measures. They are wrong. We cannot afford not to do it. We cannot afford not to invest in the most valuable asset we have – the people of this country.
I know from my own life that knowledge is power and I wouldn’t be here without it.
For that reason, she promised:
as part of Labour’s National Education Service, we will deliver a new, fully-funded right to lifelong learning.
"Your ability to pay or willingness to take on debt will not determine whether you get the education you need."
Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner says Labour will "throw open the door" for adults to study.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 12, 2019
Labour shared some of its main pledges on Twitter:
Labour’s National Education Service:
👶 30 hours free childcare for all 2-4 year olds
🏫 Reverse school funding cuts
🎓 Scrap tuition fees
📚 Free adult education
We’ll make education a right, not a privilege.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 12, 2019
The Tories are failing the most disadvantaged students by denying them access to education.
Labour will bring back EMA to ensure that further education is available for everyone. https://t.co/d8RZhJ01Y6
— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) November 12, 2019
Tory priorities vs Labour priorities
Boris Johnson’s Conservatives seem to think that the time is right to give money away to billionaires. And their time in power over the last decade has shown that the right to education for ordinary people is pretty low down on the Tory list of priorities.
Even the BBC has previously torn apart the Tories’ appalling record on education, for example:
The public broadcaster has also pointed out that Johnson’s tax cuts for the rich would cost “£9.6bn a year”:
Oops. Another Tory walks into the exact same trap their MPs did on Sunday when attacking Labour spending. This is too easy. pic.twitter.com/mvDag6Knli
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) November 12, 2019
In short, Tory priorities are quite clear. Starving schools across the country of much-needed funding is OK, but taxing the ultra-rich minority a bit more is utterly unacceptable.
On the other hand, Corbyn’s Labour will – as Rayner said – “invest in the most valuable asset we have – the people of this country”. This will empower the whole country to face the challenges of the future – and that’s precisely what we need right now.
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