Blair courts middle classes with reforms

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair will appeal directly to the middle classes today, asking them not to desert the NHS and state schools by promising to accelerate his controversial reforms to public services.

Tony Blair will appeal directly to the middle classes today, asking them not to desert the NHS and state schools by promising to accelerate his reforms to public services.

The Prime Minister will defy threats of industrial unrest from the four biggest trade unions by committing the Government to stepping up the pace of change to create more personalised public services. In remarks that risk infuriating left-wing trade union leaders, he will say the Government needs to ensure the middle classes continue to see the public services are for them, and that the coalition of support for universal public services remains intact. "With growing capacity in our public services, we can now accelerate reform," he will say. "We have the opportunity to develop a new generation of personalised services where equity and excellence go hand in hand; services with more choice extended to everyone and not just to those that can afford to pay."

Members of Unison, one of the big four, condemned the Prime Minister as "an arrogant warmonger" and a "liar'' but stopped short of calling for his resignation. More than 2,500 delegates at the union's annual conference voted by more than four to one against calls for Mr Blair to quit, but not one speaker offered support to the Prime Minister or his policies.

Leaders of Unison, Amicus, the Transport and General Workers' Union and the GMB want Mr Blair to tone down his reforms.

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