Labour Conference: No public spending spree, says PM

TONY BLAIR will vow not to bend to demands for a public service spending spree in a blunt message this week to his party's centenary conference.

The Prime Minister knows his tough stance on spending is putting him at odds with trade unions, grassroots activists, MPs and, privately, some members of his Cabinet. But he fears that a loss of grip on the economy will cheat Labour of a second term of office. It is Mr Blair's personal ambition to lead Labour through a full second term and head the party as it fights for a third period in office.

At the Bournemouth conference the Prime Minister will tell delegates that the "ultimate political prize for New Labour is the mantle of the party of economic competence". He will make clear that he believes a strong, steady economic policy is the foundation stone for a radical reform and the modernisation of Britain.

"The Prime Minister said ... he could only do the job if he was allowed to modernise from top to bottom. He feels the same way about Britain," said Mr Blair's official spokesman.

But Mr Blair will also insist that he is "dependent on our laying economic foundations and doing nothing to threaten stability". He is expected to say: "The stable foundations have been laid, the determination to ensure stability for the long-term and defeat boom and bust for good is absolute. We will stick to the tough rules on spending. We will not spend money we have not earned."

The Prime Minister, whose Tuesday speech is always a highlight of the Labour conference, will outline his vision of a Labour century, at the turn of the millennium. Driven by the notion that the last century has been dominated by Conservatives because "progressive" governments allowed failing economic policies to prevent their completing reform, he will say: "The next century has got to be a century of progressives. The foundations we build have got to be strong - above all the economic foundations."

The shared determination of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, to stay wedded to prudence will anger delegates who want the estimated pounds 10bn "war chest" to be ploughed into improving public services. Mr Blair told his Cabinet last week at Chequers, in a meeting to finalise plans for the conference, that talk of a war chest was "nonsense".

Some ministers are keen, after two years of tight controls on public spending, to be more radical. One said that it was time for the Government to "take risks, be bold".

But Mr Blair made it clear at the time there would be "no risk to the economy, no risks with inflation and no irresponsible spending sprees". This week he is also expected this week to set out two other goals central to the aims of New Labour. He will tell his party that they are now the "one nation" party, the only one capable of representing people from all walks of life. And he will voice his ambition to make Labour the "party of the future", getting Britain ready to take on the challenges of the "knowledge economy".

He is likely to dub the Conservatives a "threat to modern Britain", insisting they have "learned nothing, are extreme, on the side of the privileged few and stuck in the past". As for the Liberal Democrats, this week he will say, "you simply can't trust them on the economy".

A debate on devolution and the UK, will be held by the Independent/IOS with the Home Secretary, David Marquand and Wendy Alexander, at the Dorchester suite, Highcliff Hotel, Bournemouth, on Monday, at 6.15pm.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mechanical Design Engineer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: MECHANICAL D...

SQL DBA (2005/2008/2012, projects, storage requirements)

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

Copywriter - Corporate clients - Wimbledon

£21000 - £23000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Copywriter - London As a Copywrite...

Horticulture Lecturer / Tutor / Assessor - Derbyshire

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: As a result of our successf...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried