By Jeremy Corbyn

Hastings is a special place that I’ve visited many, many times. I’ve been camping in Battle, I’ve taken my family up to the funicular and I’ve enjoyed one of my favourite past times, cycling, along the front of Bexhill.

This year I’ve been to Hastings on three occasions, and each time I have been filled with hope by the people I meet and the victories we’ve already won together – but left shocked by what’s happened to Hastings under the Conservative government.

PICTURE: Julia Kotziamani

It’s thanks to bold campaigning from townspeople in tandem with Labour that we’re close to ensuring the future of the walk-in medical centre at Station Plaza. And without the Labour council’s programme for purchasing commercial properties we wouldn’t have generated the more than a million pounds a year that’s helped protect vital local services.

But Hastings is living through the harsh reality of what this failed Tory government means for towns around the UK.

Last year alone, food banks in Hastings gave out more than 87,000 meals. And it is predicted that by the time the Universal Credit policy is fully rolled out approximately one in five adults in Hastings and Rye – more than 15,000 people – will be trapped in poverty by this inhumane, flagship Tory policy that Labour will immediately end.

There’s no one better placed than our candidate Peter Chowney to represent Hastings and put our bold plans in place: Peter’s been a Hastings councillor for 20 years, in which time he’s been a constant champion for the town.

Just last week he took me to visit the charity, Surviving the Streets. Together with some staff and volunteers I went to the town centre to offer people hot food and drink, and a change of clothes.

It is a national disgrace that more than 14 million people in this country are living in poverty, and nine million people live in families where at least one adult works. And it is because of appalling political choices made by Tory governments that real wages are still lower than before the financial crisis – while dividends paid to shareholders are up 85%.

The cruelty doesn’t stop there. Under Tory plans, more than 7,500 households could lose their free TV licences.

This, in the fifth richest country in the world, but a country where the six richest people control the same wealth as the poorest 13 million.

There’s only one way to end this disastrous legacy, and that’s by voting in a Labour government that will rewrite the rules of the economy so that it works for everyone.

Labour will put an end to people around the country being left drowning in debt. And our plans to raise the minimum wage will make sure more money ends up in the pockets of workers.

Under our Green Industrial Revolution, our Green Transformation Fund will invest £19 billion in the region. It’s an investment blitz on a scale not seen since the Second World War, and it will bring the real change we need to bring wealth, power and prosperity to communities so that we can bring our country back together.

We’ll create 110,000 new well-paid green jobs across the South East, and we’ll bring an immediate pay rise for 915,000 workers aged 16 and over. We will create new jobs in solar and wind power generation, and through making our homes warmer, and our investment in electric vehicle manufacturing will protect the 17,000 workers already directly employed in the automotive sector in the South East.

In Hastings our plans will create at least 700 new jobs, and across East Sussex it means more than 4,000 new jobs.

That’s what this general election is about: the jobs at the end of your road, breathing new life into Hastings and the South East, and restoring the pride to communities all across the country that have been shamefully abandoned by the Tories.

We have a once in a generation chance to transform our country and ensure that no community in Hastings or anywhere else is left behind.

Boris Johnson’s Conservatives, who think they’re born to rule, will only look after the privileged few – and that’s why you won’t see the prime minister in Hastings any time soon.

But we know whose side we’re on – yours. 

Listen here to our interview:

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