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Opinion: Tory austerity continues to do damage

PUBLISHED: 08:30 07 July 2019

West Ham MP Lyn Brown says important issues are being neglected during the Brexit and Tory leadership contest.

West Ham MP Lyn Brown says important issues are being neglected during the Brexit and Tory leadership contest.

Lyn Brown

This is a terribly worrying time for many of us. The government is in chaos, because of the Tory Brexit and the Tory leadership contest.

We face the appalling prospect of Boris Johnson as prime minister.

Johnson is a man reported to tell untruths, seems to have a reckless plan for a No Deal Brexit, who has insulted Muslim women and used colonial racist slurs about African people.

This man could become prime minister of our country, yet we will be given no opportunity to stop it.

Whilst this pantomime continues, massive issues are being ignored.

More than half Newham's children live in poverty, because wages can't meet the cost of living and of an uncontrolled explosion in rents. I had a child tell me, when I joked about her well-filled lunch plate, that, "It wasn't her turn to eat that night."

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The government pretends poverty's the fault of feckless, work-shy parents, yet they know the vast majority of children in poverty (70 per cent) have at least one working parent.

Instead of tackling these problems, by helping struggling families and building more council homes, the Tories repeatedly choose to cut the social security safety net, making it ever harder for parents. It's our children who suffer.

Our schools' brilliant teachers work tirelessly to give our children opportunities, despite the disadvantages poverty imposes upon students.

Brutal cuts affect our schools and teachers, too. Schools have to rely on donations from hard-pressed parents for basics like pencils and textbooks. Newham's schools have endured cuts of £37m since 2015: averaging £445 per pupil off schools' budgets.

It's not just schools. Our colleges have lost an equal amount and our sixth form colleges even more. Colleges have suspended courses in maths, science, technology, engineering, and modern languages. There simply is no money.

We spend less and less of the country's wealth on educating our children. We are failing to invest in the UK's future. How can this be sensible?

If anything could be more worrying than a No Deal Brexit and Boris Johnson as PM, it's the damage these cuts are doing to our future.

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