The 87th anniversary of the inspirational Jarrow Crusade – Kate Osborne MP


“Just like 1930s Jarrow, families are struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table. Costs are going up and up, with spiralling energy bills and food prices – yet Rishi Sunak tells us everything is ok and you can trust the Tories.”

By Kate Osborne MP

On 5th October 1936, 200 local people set off from the small, fiercely proud North Eastern town of Jarrow on a near 300-mile trek to London carrying a 12,000-named petition to the Conservative Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. 

Areas with heavy industry such as Jarrow were among those hit the hardest when Britain was left crippled by the Great Depression – around 70 per cent of workers in the town were left unemployed.

What will always be remembered is that when these proud marchers reached London the Conservative Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin disgracefully failed to meet with them and when they made the long trip home they were told their benefits had been cut because they had not been available to work.

Fast forward 87 years and every day we are seeing grim similarities with the Conservative Government of today – threatening to cut benefits for those looking for work, using vile workers and shirkers rhetoric and attempting to divide communities with their divisive rhetoric on refugees and the LGBTQ+ community.

In Jarrow, unemployment is still worryingly high and yet again a callous conservative Government has been found wanting.

Just a day after cancelling HS2 and destroying hope of connectivity in the North and a day after they announced they would reopen the Leamside Line they have u-turned on the decision.

The modern-day Tory Government have overseen huge destruction of our communities and crashed our economy with many paying hundreds more for their mortgages.

Just like 1930s Jarrow, families are struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table. Costs are going up and up, with spiralling energy bills and food prices – yet Rishi Sunak tells us everything is ok and you can trust the Tories. 

13 years down the line and there’s very little doubt that the Tories have failed so many people in this country – particularly here in the North East. 

The cost-of-living crisis that is crippling our communities symbolises this Government and their priorities. Here in Jarrow –  around 66% of people in our constituency are having to cut back on their essential groceries and at least 41% are worried about affording their rent and 28% are worried about becoming homeless.

These are real people behind those statistics.  Many of them are being left with no choice but to turn to a foodbank and one in three people are worried they will need to use one.

I can’t speak highly enough of our wonderful foodbanks in the Jarrow constituency such as Bede’s Helping Hands, Hebburn Helps and Boldon Community Association – who all do so much to help those families who need help the most.

However, as one of the richest countries in the world – with millions experiencing poverty opened – but they should not be necessary. It is outrageous that in the sixth richest country in the world, we have millions trapped in poverty.

Time and time again this Government repeatedly lets down our communities. Across the country, we are regularly seeing workers take industrial action saying to this Government that enough is enough.

This week’s Tory Party Conference was Rishi Sunak’s opportunity to outline his vision for the country and how he is going to set about righting so many Conversative wrongs over the past 13 years.

But it was quickly apparent that not even he could attempt to hide from his shambolic Government’s record in power. NHS waiting lists at a record high, living standards are falling and school buildings are crumbling.

Sunak and his predecessors in Downing Street have a choice and are choosing to make political decisions that is impacting negatively on our communities.

For decades, it is the people here in the North who are continually treated as second-class citizens by Rishi Sunak and his incompetent, dreadful and chaotic Government. Sunak is happy to continue to neglect the North which continues to be left behind.

Ignoring businesses, scrapping the HS2 Northern leg and widening regional inequalities is no way to run a Government and the Tories are not very good at it.

The Tories have let Britain down for too long and we’ve had enough.

They cannot deliver the change our communities need and crave. The damage they would do to working people with five more years of austerity and neglect isn’t worth thinking about.

Our public services have been starved of investment for years and our NHS has been grossly underfunded throughout this Government’s time in power. We want significant investment for our communities and I won’t stop until areas such as North East are given their fair share. 

The people of Jarrow – just like those wonderfully proud men 87 years ago – deserve so much better than this.

We need a new Government with new ideas.  We need a General Election now so we can finally rid this country after 13 years of crippling Tory austerity!

Featured image: Jarrow Marchers en route to London. Collection of (National Media Museum (Photographer unknown))

Leave a Reply