Today I addressed tens of thousands of people in Central London at the People’s Assembly demonstration.
It was great to see such crowds out in force to tell Theresa May, her party and her DUP allies that it’s time for an end to austerity, to the pay cap and to this failing Tory government.
In this vital week – when Parliament came just a handful of votes from overturning the pay cap – it’s so important for everyone in our movement to keep the pressure on the Tories.
Austerity – that cruel political choice and terrible political project – is coming to an end. That’s clear not just to those who marched today, but to the millions around the country who voted for change on June 8th, and millions more who are waking up to the possibility of a different country and a different way of doing things.
The end to the arbitrary pay cap needs to be the first stage in austerity’s downfall, because the ambulance worker, the housing officer and the hospital porter have gone far too long without the fair wage they deserve – especially when they do so much for all of us.
Enough is enough.
It’s time for the care worker, the cleaner and the nurse to get a pay rise – not in October, not next year, but now. They have already waited far too long and their patience – and my patience – are way past breaking point.
But ending austerity isn’t just about better pay – as important as that is. Ending austerity is also about properly funding public services. It’s about stopping and reversing job losses. It’s about restoring public services to the standing they deserve, allowing all public servants to serve their communities without unnecessary financial constraints and without the threat of cuts constantly hanging over them.
Austerity was always a choice – to attack those who the government thought could not fight back, rather than those in the City who caused the financial crisis. Yet the government underestimated the British people, and now at long last they have joined us in fighting back.
At the next election, we have the chance to end austerity for good and put Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street. Today’s march was another step down that road – so in the weeks and months ahead we must keep on marching together, united.
That’s how we’ll win.