Unite delegate Jessie Jacobs, who is also running to be the UK’s first female directly elected metro mayor in the Tees Valley, gave an inspiring speech at the Labour Party Conference on defending local services on Wednesday (September 25).
“I am sick of injustice. I am tired of hearing of another life lost to domestic violence, drug addiction or suicide,” she said. “I am sick of services that should be there to prevent this, to support those in need, being cut through austerity.”
Jacobs, speaking in support of a composite on local government cuts, told conference of how earlier this year, the rape counselling service in Teeside was advised their funding would need to be halved.
“The rape counselling service that helps hundreds of women every year, offering hope, recovery, rehabilitation and guidance to be halved — at a time when violence against women is a national issue,” she said.
Jacobs lambasted the former prime minister Theresa May when she said austerity was supposedly over.
“Well if it is over, then why are the councils still having their funding cut?” she pointed out. “If it is over, why are youth services still closing and Unite members who work in them still facing redundancies? If it is over, then why are councils being made to make a decision to cut vital support to rape survivors?”
Calling for a “desperately needed” Labour government, she argued that “Boris Johnson has shown himself once again today to be a liar, a self-serving bully who has no respect for democracy. He needs to go. We need him and his Tories out”.
She urged support for rape survivors, and those workers running crisis services; for young people, for working families “struggling to feed their children” and for the planet and for the “future of all of us” – everyone “needs the [Tories] out”.
“We don’t fear Boris Johnson,” Jacobs went on to say. “We will go to a general election, with people across this nation unified alongside the only party that truly represents the 99 per cent.”
“We will come together and we will get him out and we will get Jeremy Corbyn in,” she concluded. “Everything depends on this.”
The composite was carried.