10 Questions for Boris Johnson

By Michael Calderbank

Tonight’s TV debates offer both Jeremy Corbyn and the studio audience the opportunity to ask the PM some critical questions, which he’s so far been trying to evade.   Here are 10 questions which Johnson ought to face:

 

NHS

With A&E waiting times at a record high, our elderly left to languish on hospital trollies, patients waiting longer than ever to see their GP, and others unable to receive the essential life-saving medicines they need,  hasn’t Tory austerity brought the National Health Service to its knees?

 

Brexit

If you don’t plan to include the NHS as part of a potential trade deal with the US, why have US healthcare corporations been invited to secret meetings in Whitehall at least four separate occasions in the run up to Brexit?

 

Schools

Since 2010, we’ve seen a 258% increase in the number of Secondary School pupils in class sizes of 36 or more – isn’t the crisis in the funding of our schools a betrayal our young people and their future?

 

Homelessness

Acorrding to the Shelter, at least 320,000 people across the UK are currently homeless, and even at a conservative estimate 5,000 are sleeping rough (including many former military service personnel).      Last year alone 726 of our citizens died homeless on Britain’s streets, a 22% rise even since 2017. Isn’t he ashamed?

 

Housing

According to the National Housing Federation 8.4 million people in England are living in an unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable home.    The definition of “affordable” as 80% of market rate is a nonsense for huge numbers of these families.    Why on earth would anyone believe that the Tories are serious about addressing the crisis of housing supply?

 

Food Banks

The food bank provider the Trussell Trust has reported a 23% year-on-year increase in parcels provided in 2019 alone, including over 300,000 to children.  We also know that many of those forced to appeal to food banks for help are in employment, but unable to afford to feed their families.     Is this any way to live in the 21st Century?

 

Climate Change

Britain is currently set to miss our limited 2020 targets on air and water pollution, improving biodiversity, and increasing recycling.    But far from taking the necessary steps to accelerate our commitment to realise a zero net carbon economy long before 2050, why has your government has ruled out the idea of a non-regression clause in Brexit legislation that would rule out watering down environmental standards after the UK leaves the EU?

 

Tax Cuts for the Rich

Why is your government choosing to offer a £100bn windfall to the rich in the form of tax breaks and corporate subsidies, instead of investing in our overstretched public services?   Could it be related to the £50m that the Conservative Party has received from 48 billionaire donors?

 

Transport

Rail Passengers have faced fare increases of over 40% since 2010, and yet this year punctuality hit a 14 year low whilst our trains are amongst the most overcrowded in Europe.    Why does he want shareholder of failing private operators to continue to take millions in dividends from our rail system, rather than taking it back under public ownership?   

 

Retirement Age

Tory think-tank, the Centre for Social Justice, has recommended making the pension age 75 for both men and women.   Can he categorically rule out any further extension of the retirement age if he is re-elected?