Chancellor Gordon Brown today declared that the Government was steeled to take the tough decisions needed to achieve social justice - warning that the Labour way would often involve taking "the hard road".
In his keynote speech to Labour's annual conference in Bournemouth, Mr Brown cautioned that only by being true to its values and objectives would the Government regain the public's trust following its recent troubles.
Mr Brown told delegates: "My message is that where we have succeeded in our first six years of Government, where we have built a bond of trust with the British people, and where we will succeed in the future, it is by demonstrating the strength to take the long-term decisions, it is by being honest with the British people about the direction and challenges ahead, and it is by taking the Labour road - often the hard road - being true to our Labour values."
Mr Brown told delegates the Government's goal was to create a future "fair for all" - which demanded full employment, high productivity, world-class public services, and the eradication of child and pensioner poverty.
The Government's grip on power was not about the enjoyment of power for its own sake, nor was his own commitment to economic stability a commitment for its own sake.
Rather, said Mr Brown, they were about "stability and power for a purpose, to be on the side of hard working families".
Mr Brown told delegates: "Our vision for Britain has never been more relevant: that no-one be locked out of opportunity, that opportunity and social justice in Britain in 2003 should not depend on class or connections, on birth or background, on where you come from or who you know but opportunity and social justice should be the promise of Britain not just to some but to everyone."
Mr Brown put his traditional emphasis on the importance of long-term stability, but also signalled significant labour market reforms in pursuit of full employment.
They would include, he suggested, more regional pay settlements proposals sure to generate opposition among trade union leaders.
Mr Brown told delegates: "As long as I am Chancellor I will never ask you to abandon fiscal responsibility, never to set aside economic discipline, never to abandon long-term reform for quick fixes, never to succumb to Tory short-termism.
"And I ask you to support in the Pre-Budget Report the next stage of our economic reforms, employment service reform, planning reform, labour market reform, competition policy reform, regional reform to help us create full employment including our plan to relocate 20,000 civil service jobs out of Whitehall into the regions."
Mr Brown told his audience that the Government wanted to encourage the public to take a more positive approach to Europe, and to relations with the USA.
Mr Brown said: "Rather than allowing Europe and America to look inwards and stand apart, we will promote a new trans-Atlantic economic partnership as we seek a strong pro-European, pro-Atlantic consensus in Britain.
"And we will demonstrate to the public the benefits of the euro if we can achieve sustainable and durable convergence with the euro area and as we campaign on Europe throughout Britain we will take on Tory anti-European myths and prejudices.
"And most urgently, following the bitter disappointment at Cancun, Margaret Beckett, Patricia Hewitt and I are convinced we must do more for world trade and for the developing countries to tackle the waste of the Common Agricultural Policy, the scandal of agricultural protectionism around the world."
Mr Brown gave his backing to Prime Minister Tony Blair in his efforts to bring about the reconstruction of post-war Iraq, and also to his attempts to tackle more long-term global problems.
Mr Brown told delegates: "Just as it is right to back our leader Tony Blair in his efforts today to bring security and reconstruction in Iraq - and I want to praise the professionalism and dedication of our armed forces - and to bring a settlement that ensures peace and justice in the Middle East; so it is right to seek international agreement as Tony Blair and John Prescott are doing to tackle climate change and global environmental damage."Reuse content