Blair will tell Labour activists he shares frustration

Tony Blair has responded to last week's election protest by Labour's core supporters by insisting he shares their frustration over delays in delivering the Government's promises.

The Prime Minister reacted to the worst results since he came to power by telling supporters that the Government understands the discontent but its strategy is for the long term.

It came as Labour lost control of Watford, Hertfordshire, which declared its result yesterday after an experiment with weekend voting.

The change was intended to increase the number of people voting, but turn-out fell from 36 per cent to 27 per cent and the defeat brought the number of authorities lost by Labour to 16.

Mr Blair says in an interview with The Times today that he accepts the "frustrations" of Labour voters and wishes the pace of change was quicker.

A Downing Street source said: "We are very aware of what people are saying and share their frustrations but it is one of the prices you pay for long-term decision making."

Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, will reject demands today by party activists for the Government to focus more on the Labour heartlands, and will insist that it has to stick to its strategy of refusing a general increase in welfare hand-outs without modernisation of the system. Committing the Government to fulfil the "historic mission as a New Labour" administration, he will say there can be no "short-term quick fixes" to delivering security and opportunity.

However, Whitehall sources confirmed that Mr Brown is planning to give an extra boost to pensioners who led the protests in last week's elections over the 75p per week rise in the basic pension. The Chancellor said in his Budget that the state pension next year would be increased by £3 per week for couples and £2 for single pensioners on present inflation forecasts. He is expected to go further by providing an extra pension credit for the elderly with small occupational pensions.

The importance of the pensions backlash is highlighted today by the former minister Peter Kilfoyle. Writing in The Independent, he warns Mr Brown it would be "a grave mistake" if he simply used his £22.5bn windfall from the sale of mobile phone licences to repay a tiny fraction of national debt.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable