Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

UK's fragile government faces challenge over austerity

UK's fragile government faces challenge over austerity

Corbyn makes the point: How can local authorities make fire improvements when they see their budgets cut by 40%?

Safety checks are continuing across the country following the Grenfell Tower blaze on June 14, which was apparently stoked by the building's flammable exterior cladding and left at least 79 people dead or missing.

The prime minister said: "The question is... why is it that fire inspections, that local authority inspections, appear to have missed this essential issue?"

In their manifesto, Labour pledged to lift the pay cap but said it would be up to the public sector pay review bodies to decide what level of increase was appropriate and financially sustainable.

The opposition Labour party is hoping to exploit concerns within May's Conservative party that voters are tiring of its seven-year spending squeeze.

"What the tragedy of Grenfell Tower has exposed is the disastrous effects of austerity", he told the House.

"I urge the prime minister to come up with the resources needed to test and remove cladding, retrofit sprinklers, properly fund the fire service and police, so that all our communities can truly feel safe in their own homes". "This disaster must be a wake-up call".

Following the extended PMQs session - which ran around 20 minutes over its allotted half-hour - MPs gathered in the Commons for a debate on the Queen's speech.

Tory MP Heidi Allen has also called on the Government to "urgently review" funding for public services across the United Kingdom in the wake of the deal with the DUP.

A victory for Labour in Wednesday's vote could topple May's government, but her administration is likely to survive thanks to a deal May reached this week with 10 lawmakers from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

Mrs May should have just enough numbers to vote the amendment down, after striking a deal to stay in office with a small Northern Irish party.

Opposition parties and devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales have called on the Government to match the funding boost for Northern Ireland across the United Kingdom, with shadow chancellor John McDonnell calling for an end to austerity "throughout the UK", not just in the province.

Its leftist leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said the fire and attacks by Islamist militants made it clear that emergency service workers "deserve the pay rise they have been denied for seven years".

A vote will take place in Parliament at around 7 p.m. (1800 GMT; 2 p.m. EDT).

Theresa May's election gamble backfired, resulting in the Conservative party losing their majority of seats.

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