Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn promises ‘bright future’ for Barking and Dagenham
- Credit: Archant
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn promised a “bright future” for the borough when he outlined a set of 10 pledges in Dagenham this morning.
The Islington MP, currently embroiled in a leadership contest with rival Owen Smith, addressed councillors, businesses and the Mayor of Barking and Dagenham at Londoneast-UK, in Rainham Road South.
After setting out a range of promises, including a commitment to build five million homes in five years, Mr Corbyn praised the innovation of local projects such as Elutec college, based next door.
“Barking and Dagenham has a huge future because it’s gone through industrial change with a decline in the number of jobs at Ford’s and it’s developing a wider range of industries,” he said.
“That’s why I’m impressed, for example, with the engineering school and the other developments going on here across the borough and the need to improve the transport and rail links into Barking and Dagenham and to ensure young people have decent and good opportunities.”
Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell urged Mr Corbyn to resign as party leader at the end of June, days after Barking MP Maragret Hodge submitted a vote of no confidence in the 67-year-old.
However the left-winger defended his premiership and promised to create one million jobs by investing £500bn into infrastructure, manufacturing and new industries.
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“Barking and Dagenham is an area where the wage levels are not of the highest across the whole country,” he added.
“Education attainment is therefore damaged by that and what I want to see is investment in manufacturing and high-quality jobs but also an investment in better-quality housing which is something we need right across London and the country as a whole.
“What we need is innovative local government to do these things.”
The NHS, wealth inequality and peaceful conflict resolution were all the on the agenda while Mr Corbyn also laid into central government cuts which has seen Barking and Dagenham Council slash millions of pounds from its budget over the past few years.
“If you took a map of Britain and put red over every area in the country that was very poor across Britain and then you overlay it, say with blue, over the biggest cuts in local government expenditure they would be in exactly the same area,” he claimed.
“We have a system in central government that is actually criminalising the poorest and most needy and the areas with the most potential.
“We need to free up local government so that it can innovate.”