Labour Leader In Reading

15 August 2017, 07:42 | Updated: 15 August 2017, 07:44

Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour leader's used a visit to Reading to call the government's housing policy "misguided".

The Labour leader is campaigning to unseat Tory MPs with slim majorities as he attempts to keep his party on an election footing.

Hundreds of party faithful turned out to watch Mr Corbyn at a rally in Milton Keynes, following a visit to Reading earlier that day.

Addressing the crowds, Mr Corbyn said the election campaign had been "a dry run, a dress rehearsal" and his party was "putting this Tory Government on notice", adding: "The election campaign ended on June 8 and the campaign to elect a Labour Government started on June 9."

It comes after Labour used a number of campaign visits to heap pressure on Theresa May over her record on the NHS.

Mr Corbyn told the rally: "There's a housing problem. If the whole housing strategy is so misguided as to ignore the role of local authorities and councils in building housing, to ignore the crying need for regulation of the private rented sector and to give councils the planning powers to make sure that new big private developments have at least half of them as genuinely affordable for people to move into a local level.

"We are developing our housing policy which will include building 500,000 council houses across the whole country and will include proper regulation of the private rented sector."

He vowed to fight housing insecurity, which he said was "unnecessary, unfortunate and wrong".

Mr Corbyn also condemned the Tories for failing to lift the 1% pay cap for public sector workers amid "crocodile tears" for the bravery of emergency workers after terror attacks in London and Manchester, and the Grenfell Tower fire.

He said: "This Government doesn't understand the needs of people across this country.

"It doesn't want to understand and it is not prepared to tax where it could be taxed in order to pay where it's necessary to pay to improve our public services."

Mr Corbyn also put education at the heart of his address by taking aim at the "scandal" of student fees and the loss of EMA, which provide barriers to education.

He said: "If a young person can't achieve what they want to in college, in university, can't achieve the skill that they want to achieve, they lose and we lose because we've lost that skilled person.

"It is well worth raising corporation tax, raising a tax on the very wealthiest 5% of the population to make sure that everybody can go to college, can go to university, can develop the very best in their lives.

"Other countries do it and so should we."

He said his party was ready to take over whenever the Conservatives "give up the ghost".

Labour will continue its campaign in marginal seats over the coming days, with plans to head north and to Scotland. The Conservatives held Reading West with a majority of 2,876 and Milton Keynes North with 1,915 votes.