Just two weeks ago, Boris Johnson was elected to the highest office in the country by members of the Conservative Party, an electorate which makes up just 0.2% of the population. A tiny fraction of our society has decided that this man – a symbol of incompetence and arrogance – is fit to run our country and steer us through a Brexit crisis of the Tory party’s own making.
When I consider the issues which most severely afflict my constituents, housing, education and healthcare are the three which require the most urgent and comprehensive reform. On all three fronts, the incoming Prime Minister offers none of the solutions which our communities so desperately need.
From 1949-2017, the NHS budget grew by an average of 3.3% in per-person spending. Since the Tories entered government nine years go, this figure fell to 0.6% from 2010-2017, leading to crises in waiting times, staffing, and social care. If the Government take us out of the EU without a deal on October 31st – right before the winter squeeze on NHS services – our health service will face catastrophe. Patients will suffer shortages in medical supplies, equipment and staff as a result of the radical decisions taken by an individual they had no say in electing.
Our housing market is facing a long-term crisis of a similar scale. Under the Tories, average private rents have risen by £1,900 a year compared to 2010. As Mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s record on housing was dismal, wasting millions on failed schemes like ‘Boris Airport’ and the ‘Garden Bridge’. Nearly £1 billion of taxpayers’ money that could have been spent on desperately needed social housing was wasted on vanity projects which never even got off the ground.
Next month, nearly 5,000 school headteachers are promising to walk out of their schools to take part in a mass march on Westminster, highlighting the chronic underfunding of our children’s education. Headteachers report having to close at lunchtime on Fridays because they cannot fund a full week of teaching. The teaching profession is in crisis: just 60% of teachers are still working in state-funded schools five years after starting. Schools need a clear and concrete funding plan to turn this around. During his leadership campaign, the incoming Prime Minister offered to solve these problems with around £50m in extra funding for schools – just a 0.1% increase in overall school spending.
On housing, education and healthcare, Johnson offers nothing but rhetoric and bluster. In a time of crisis, our country deserves better.