Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Labour Manifesto launch - Gordon Brown's speech

Gordon Brown MP, Prime Minster and Leader of the Labour Party, speech at the launch of Labour's 2010 General Election Manifesto:CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY"In 1997, New Labour asked the country for the opportunity to renew Britain - our hospitals, our schools, our towns and cities. Now, in a changed time, New Labour is once again ready and equipped to answer the call of the future. And for those who say that the promises made at election time never come to pass – I say just look around you at this building – a new acute NHS hospital that will open within weeks. A modern building that embodies the timeless ideal of compassion in action.Look at what, together, we have built – we didn’t just fix the roof – we built the entire hospital. As I have travell ed round the country, I have listened, heard and learnt from the people of Britain and have become more and not less optimistic about Britain and its potential.The forward policies we set out today are rooted in the day-to-day concerns of the British people. And today I lay before you a radical and realistic plan for Britain that starts with securing the recovery, and renews Britain as a fairer, greener, more accountable, and more prosperous country. For the road to recovery we’re travelling on is also the road to a better and fairer future for all. Leave it to our opponents to try to build the present in the image of the past – our manifesto is written not in the past tense, but in the future tense. Because even in the darkest days of the crisis we have never stopped thinking of and preparing for tomorrow. A few years ago, someone once asked where does New Labour stand – what business are we in: past or future?Our answer is as c lear as the question was then.We are in the future business.And under my leadership we always will be in the future business … building a future fair for all.And by encouraging thousands of acts of compassion and caring, our policies at their best can bring hope alive, make dreams come true, and meet the aspirations of all those who want to rise.It matters because we are in a new world now. September the 11th changed the security considerations for the world and explains our continuing and resolute commitment to Afghanistan and our armed forces. So also the financial crisis changed the economic considerations. This is the first post-crisis vote for our country, and the most important in a generation. Get the big decisions right now and make the right choices now; and we not only renew our economy but renew our politics and society too. And in building the future Labour will be restless and relentless reformers – reformers of the market, and reformers of the state.And so this post-crisis world throws up three fundamental questions which we will address today.First – how do we rebuild our economy so that Britain can be a country with high skills and modern manufacturing – where work pays, family finances are secure and government partners business to invest in Britain’s strengths?Second – even as we cut the deficit with our announced tax rises and public spending reductions – how do we protect and reform our front-line public services so that they are not take-it-or-leave-it services, but give every patient parent and citizen real choice and voice, and put you in charge of the service you receive?And third – how do we write anew the contract of trust between the public and the public servants, so that we replace a discredited and distrusted politics, with one where you the people are the boss?New Labour’s manifesto answers these questions with a pla n for national renewal. In its pages, and online, you will find a Labour programme not setting out empty slogans of change, but setting out who is best for the NHS, who is best for schools, who is best for our young people, who is best for jobs.My priority is to secure the recovery. But as that is done, we know we need to move on to a different, fairer economy with broader foundations and with responsibility from all, including at the top. As a result of the decisions taken to secure the recovery, and as long as we see this through, our plan for the future, you the British people will be better off. This is the Britain of our commitment and our vision.A Britain where an active government backs British business with the fastest high speed rail, the newest green investment bank, the widest broadband access for all and the best allowances for those businesses that wish to invest in their future. A Britain where we demand a new culture in the City – wi th standards in the boardroom and finance that look to the long term interests of British business and industry - and safeguards investors, workers and consumers too. It’s a Britain where banks serve the people and not the other way around, and banks pay their fair share to society through an international banking tax. And a pro-enterprise Britain where we invest in the high tech, digital, life science, green and creative industries where Britain leads the world. And where we will support small businesses with help for cash flow with the continuation of the time-to-pay scheme that has already helped thousands of firms, and by a one year rates holiday on business for thriving small firms. It’s a Britain not of limited room at the top, but one where all young people can go on to university, college or an apprenticeship, and where, with 1 million more skilled jobs and up to 70,000 advanced apprenticeships and new skills accounts, everyone has a chance to get on. It’s a Britain of the family, with a minimum wage rising with earnings, an end to long term unemployment, and new help for first time home buyers, and where we build on Labour’s record maternity leave and pay with a new father’s month, to help people better balance work and family life. A Britain where we have more homeowners, more apprentices, more students, more professionals, more businesses and a bigger middle class than ever before. And just as we are unafraid to reform the institutions of the market economy, so New Labour will always be the reformers of government itself. We are determined to halve the deficit – but as we do, so we will ensure that every last pound spent on public services delivers the best value for money for you and your family. I don’t believe in take it or leave it public services – I want guaranteed standards for every citizen in every public service, with robust redress if they fail and with the best taking over those that aren’t making the grade.The central insight of our reforms in this manifesto is that there should be no limit to what the best in the public sector can do – and that’s why, by 2015, there will be 1000 federated schools in total, where brilliant educational innovators will lead, not only their own schools, but raise standards in others as well, with the promise that every school child who needs it will get one-to-one tuition.And in Labour’s Britain, every hospital will become a foundation trust and those that aren’t up to the mark will get taken over by a trust that is. And I can say today that we will apply the same approach to policing, so if a police force is letting down its local community, another force can come in to protect and serve. And I believe in a Britain where we write a new chapter in the story of our nation’s most treasured institution – where Labour guarantees, in law, that every patient wil l get test results within a week if they are at risk of cancer, and every family has access to a GP that is open in the evenings and weekends. That’s what I mean by public services personal to your needs.But all this and more can only be achieved if we restore the fundamental relationship of trust between electors and elected. And so today we pledge a Britain of 21st century politics, where we empower people with voting reform, a choice on votes at 16, a democratic Lords, and the right of recall. My fundamental belief is that fairness is not just about the distribution of rewards, but the distribution of responsibilities – its fair rules applied to all. And that’s why we must build a Britain where no unemployed person can have a life time on the dole, but will have to accept work and where those who come here contribute to our country – but those who can’t or won’t don’t come, a Britain where anti-social behaviour and crime are dealt with quickly, wher e those who break the rules pay the price; and where, if you don’t get action, you can take out an injunction at the authority’s expense to secure the justice you need.And so, when anybody tells you that it doesn’t matter who wins the election; that the parties are all the same, just ask them:- Which is the party of the family, promising to protect child tax credits, the child trust fund, and sure start and to give all new dads a month with their babies and help to buy the family home?- Which is the party of making work pay, pledging a rising minimum wage, and the end of benefits-for-life?- Which is the party of the NHS, offering, in return for national insurance, legal rights on GP access, waiting times and cancer tests? - Which is the party of growth and jobs, with a programme to deliver a million more skilled jobs? - And which is the party of political reform, offering more democratic change than at any time in 100 years and more?The a nswer is New Labour – the party with the plan for the future.And I say to you today: the future will be progressive or conservative, but it will not be both. New Labour is in the fight of our lives – and it is the fight for your future. I have faith in Britain, in our people and our businesses. I am confident the future is one of a prosperity that can be both sustained and shared. I am confident in the vision we hold and the values that lead us toward it. I am confident in the team I lead and the policies we promise.At the heart of this manifesto is the great and common purpose of national renewal. If we are elected to implement it, we will equip the British people for the future. Yes, we are in the future business - for a future fair for all."