Jeremy Corbyn kicks off Labour's local election campaign as UK steel crisis continues

Jeremy Corbyn will launch his party’s local election campaign today by saying that a Labour-run council is the best protection against an onslaught of Tory cuts. To the delight of many Labour activists and MPs who have grown weary of their leader’s focus on foreign policy, Mr Corbyn will focus his message around housing and low pay. He will also criticise the Government over its handling of the steel crisis, its plans to turn every school into an academy and its perceived failure to clampdown on corporate tax avoidance. The last issue could prove a particularly profitable line of attack for Labour after it emerged that an investment fund run by David Cameron’s father paid no tax in Britain for 30 years. The disclosure risks reinforcing perceptions of the Tories as the party of the rich. Although Labour is likely to gain traction from drawing attention to these revelations, polling from local election experts Thrasher and Rallings today suggests the party is still likely to suffer heavy losses on May 5.

The tax affairs of his late father are not the only news item causing Mr Cameron a headache this morning. The PM is also facing calls from Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones to take the British steel industry into public ownership. The Government is vehemently resisting nationalisation for the time being and is instead pinning its hopes on a buyer being found from the private sector. One of those being touted as a saviour of the British steel industry is the head of Liberty Group, Sanjeev Gupta. The Indian entrepreneuris already said to have held productive talks with the Government. Ministers will now be keeping their fingers crossed that a bid is forthcoming.

There is also some hopeful news for the Governmenton the EU front. An ORB poll for the Daily Telegraph has found that the Remain campaign now has a narrow lead in the referendum debate. Despite concerns that the steel crisis and the terror attacks in Brussels could influence the result, the poll found they have had little or no effect on how people intend to vote. In what will be a welcome boost forMr Cameron, some 51% of those questioned supported Remain while 44% backed Leave.

Chris Warne

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search