Corbyn: Corby shouldn’t pay for county council mistakes

Jeremy Corbyn outside Corby Train Station this morning.
Jeremy Corbyn outside Corby Train Station this morning.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says Corby should not be made to pay for the mistakes of the county council.

The Islington North MP visited the town today (Wednesday) as part of a tour around the country to support candidates in marginal constituencies.

With Northamptonshire County Council financially-stricken and set to announce further cuts to save £70m, Corby could merge with the rest of north Northamptonshire to form a unitary authority.

It’s understood that the structure of that proposal will soon be released, but 95 per cent of people who responded to a Corby Council consultation said they did not want the plan to become a reality.

Mr Corbyn said people in the town, under the only Labour-led council in the county, would be the ones paying the price for Conservative mistakes.

He told the Northants Telegraph: “The county council’s collapse has been brought about by a combination of underfunding and spending of all of the reserves and balances that were there.

“The people that pay the price for that are not the councillors or the politicians, the people that pay the price for that are families in distress, young people losing facilities, and the underfunding of all of our services.

“I don’t see why the people of Corby should pay for the Tory mistakes of Northamptonshire County Council.

“Beth [Miller] and I will be working very hard together to not only support and defend the services in Corby but crucially we’ll be working very hard to get a General Election to get a Labour government that will do things very differently.”

Mr Corbyn visited Tata Steel this morning to discuss items such as issues the industry faces and apprenticeships.

He said Labour’s ‘Build it in Britain’ campaign would give Corby’s steel industry a boost after the devastation of the 1980s closures.

He said: “Countries like Germany and France invest far more in manufacturing industry but also have a much tighter local procurement rule.

“We’d be looking to ensure that steel made in Britain was used on infrastructure projects that we’ll be funding and through a regional transformation fund we’d be supporting the development of high-tec, high-quality industrial jobs in Corby.

“The loss of the steel industry when Thatcher closed it down in privatisation has not been replaced by the equivalent number of high-skilled jobs and the number of people working in steel in Corby is a fraction of what it was at the height of the steel industry.

“Many people made their homes in this town, brought here from Scotland and other parts of the country to run the steel industry, and their sense of loss, anger and devastation at the way they were treated in the 1980s hasn’t gone away.”

The Labour leader also backed Beth Miller, the town’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the party, to end three years of Conservative rule at the next ballot amid rumours of a General Election.

Miss Miller fell about 2,500 votes short of Tom Pursglove in June 2017 but Mr Corbyn said he was confident she would win next time.

He said: “She’s not going to get close next time, she’s going to get past the line next time and be the MP for Corby.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming her to Parliament.”

Mr Corbyn spoke outside Corby Train Station on the day it was announced UK rail fares would rise by a maximum of 3.2 per cent in 2019.

An off-peak return bought on the day from Corby to London currently costs £49.50.

The leader of the opposition added that commuters in Corby are “being totally ripped off”.