Brown makes full employment a manifesto priority

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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown has pledged to "hold fast" to Labour's goal of full employment, with an election manifesto that will "move further and faster" towards creating jobs for all.

In a foretaste of his budget later this month, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said he would introduce "new incentives" and "take on any vested interests to make the British economy the most adaptable flexible, skilled enterprising and innovative in the world".

Signalling that he would meet his fiscal rules before allocating cash for pensioners and families, the Chancellor pledged the budget 'will lock in our commitment to monetary vigilance and fiscal discipline.'

"We will meet our fiscal rules in a prudent and long-term way and we will take no risks with stability now, in the next parliament, or at any time,' he said in a speech to the Scottish Labour conference in Dundee.

Mr Brown said full employment was "a necessity for our country in the modern world" and that Britain must make "the transition from a low-skilled to a high skilled economy".

"The manifesto for the third term will ensure that we move further and faster to our goal of full employment, ensure that every teenager has the chance of educational opportunity. We will ensure that every pensioner has dignity in retirement with investment in our public services," he said. 'Our manifesto commitment will be to invest in all of the potential of all of the people,' he said.

He said that, since 1997, there were two million more men and women in work across the UK.

But he said employment would be a "moral issue"at the election with the Tories planning to scrap the New Deal.

"We are defending the right of every young person, every adult to have the chance of a job," he said.

In an attack on the Conservatives' economic record, Mr Brown said there would be a clear choice at the election between "stability and investment going forward with Labour, back to boom and bust and cuts with the Tories". He attacked Tory plans to cut £35bn in public spending.

Yesterday, Frank Dobson, in an interview on GMTV's Sunday Programme, called for Gordon Brown to play a bigger role in the election campaign, saying the public trust him.

The former Health Secretary said Labour had taken "quite a few nasty blows" from the Tories recently, "and had not landed all that many on them back".