How do Blair's new pledges stand up?

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Indy Politics

1 Help for first time buyers, in a low inflation, low interest-rate economy.

1 Help for first time buyers, in a low inflation, low interest-rate economy.

Analysis: Labour plans to form partnerships with builders and developers to reduce construction costs to offer first time buyers homes for £60,000. But this will only help a fewand proposals to "provide a continuous supply of land" for development will infuriate environmentalists.

2 300,000 modern apprenticeships and free skills training.

Analysis: Apprenticeships will please the unions, although the proposal is not costed. Adults with fewer than five good GCSEs will get help to "go back to school" following successful pilot schemes.

3 Every parent to have a choice of a good specialist school for their child; tough measures on disruptive pupils.

Analysis: Bullying and bad behaviour in schools is a serious problem but shifting disruptive pupils from school to school is not an answer. Some see special schools for tearaways as holding centres without high standards. Specialist schools are popular but the Government has not addressed what happens when one is oversubscribed.

4 Cardiac and cancer deaths down and more choice for patients.

Analysis: By 2008 every patient will be able to choose where they want to be treated. But will that adversely affect national targets on waiting lists? The aim to cut cardiac and cancer deaths is laudable - and apparently fully funded.

5 Flexible, affordable childcare from 3-14.

Analysis: Successful and popular in poorer communities. The policy will be expensive but is also likely to be a winner with middle-income voters - especially women.

6 Help more into work, and the money saved invested in pensions.

Analysis: The pension shortfall is serious. But savings from incapacity benefit will raise only a tiny proportion of money needed. Tackling economic inactivity is a key aim.

7 An extra £1bn for science to keep Britain as a world-leader.

Analysis: Designed to keep cutting edge research in the UK. But will it be enough? Some see stem-cell research and GM technology as too controversial.

8 Drug dealers' assets confiscated and criminal addicts in treatment.

Analysis: Will send a tough message but many more rehabilitation places are needed. Will drug users still be sent to prison despite overcrowding?

9 ID cards and tougher asylum controls to keep our borders secure.

Analysis: ID cards are very expensive and controversial. Polls show the Government has a low rating on asylum, despite recent figures showing a substantial fall in applications.

10 Fairness at work: four weeks' paid holiday plus paid bank holidays for all

Analysis: Follows a deal with the unions which brought them on side for the general election. Some employers are worried about increased regulation.


IN 1997

1 Halve the time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders from 142 days to 71 days.

Pledge met, but within five years not four

2 Cut NHS waiting list by treating an extra 100,000 patients.

Pledge met: 300,000 cut from waiting lists

3 Cut class sizes to 30 or under for five, six and seven year olds.

Pledge met for most classrooms

4 Get 250,000 people under 25 off benefit and into work.

Pledge met. Nearly 500,000 young people into work, although some say they would have found jobs anyway

5 No increase in income tax rates, cut VAT on heating to 5 per cent and keep inflation and interest rates as low as possible.

Pledge met, but other taxes have been increased, including council tax, fuel duty and National Insurance contributions

IN 2001

1 Mortgage rates as low as possible, low inflation and sound public finances.

Pledge met. Interest rates lowest for 40 years, although they have been rising. Lowest period of sustained low inflation since the 1960s and the lowest level of public debt among our major competitors

2 10,000 extra teachers and higher standards in secondary schools.

Pledge met on teachers; there are 20,000 extra. But pledge not met on secondary schools. Shortage of some specialist teachers

3 20,000 extra nurses and 10,000 extra doctors in reformed NHS.

Pledge met on nurses; there are 60,000. But pledge on doctors not yet met

4 6,000 extra police to raise numbers to record level.

Pledge met, plus 4,000 community support officers

5 Pensioners' winter fuel payment retained, minimum wage rising to £4.20.

Pledges met, minimum wage to be £4.85