Election '97: Blair writes out his 10-point plan

Click to follow
Indy Politics
This morning Tony Blair will unveil Labour's manifesto, setting out a personally written 10-point "contract with the British people", which will form the basis of a programme for a Labour government.

Mr Blair will concede that several Tory policies were correct, such as tighter regulation of the trade unions and the encouragement of free enterprise. But he will criticise the Conservatives for having failed to address social problems, for their "boom and bust" style of economics and for their bureaucratic policies on the NHS.

The manifesto is being trailed as a cautious document, based around the five pledges which were included in the draft manifesto approved by the party membership last year.

Labour sources say it will be a "programme for government", will not be subject to last-minute changes on the Today programme and is "uncompromisingly new Labour".

At 16,000 words, the Labour manifesto is marginally shorter than the Conservative one published yesterday.

The Labour Party issued photocopies of Mr Blair's handwritten notes on his10-point contract. They showed that the Labour Party's leader appeared to have some difficulty with the number of "p"s in "developing" in the pledge, covering the environment, and replaced it with "develop".

The Conservative Party Chairman Brian Mawhinney responded with his own handwritten, point-by-point rebuttal.

He claimed Labour's spending commitments would require it to raise taxes and borrowing by pounds 30 billion.

Labour's manifesto will address the fact that many people are bored with politics, saying it is a result of the Conservatives' broken promises.

Mr Blair borrows the old "One Nation" slogan of the Conservatives. and says: "I believe in Britain. It is a great country, with a great history, and the British people are a great people. I believe Britain can and must be better. I want Britain to be one nation with shared values and purpose, where merit comes before privilege, run for the many, not the few."

Mr Blair sets out that his purpose is to create a Britain in which there will be better hospitals and schools, "better ways of fighting crime" and in which we will be "equipping ourselves for a new world economy"

The five pledges covered low inflation and taxation; reduced class sizes through the abolition of the assisted places scheme; 250,000 young people off the dole, paid for by the windfall tax on utility companies; reducing waiting lists through cutting NHS bureaucracy; and more rapid punishment for young offenders.

To these, Mr Blair has added some rather unspecific commitments to safeguard the environment and develop an integrated transport system, to "clean up and decentralise politics", provide leadership in Europe and "build strong families and strong communities".

Comments