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Gordon Brown: Markets are essential for future prosperity, but they need morals

Elections are not verdicts on the past – they are choices for the future. And we will go in to this election fighting for causes every inch as great and every inch as noble as any a government has fought for before.

Because we are fighting today for an ideal as visionary as the National Health Service – the dream of a National Care Service to take the fear out of old age. And we are fighting for a future where for the first time every single young person of this generation has the guarantee of training or a job.

And we are fighting for a future where Britain is not isolated but a leader of Europe, a country that has led the world and will continue to lead the world on protecting our planet and securing justice for its poor.

And with the investment we are making we are fighting for a future we have never dared hope for before – one where we beat cancer... in this generation.

And today we are setting out our plan to build a future fair for all: first, we must secure the recovery, not put it at risk. Second, we must support new industries and future jobs. Third, as we reduce the deficit by half, we must protect and not cut frontline services. And fourth, we must stand up for the many not the few.

And I want to talk to you today about how I have changed and what I have learned. For me, the lesson of the crisis is that we need to renew our faith in the Britain that believes in hard work, enterprise and responsibility.

It's the Britain of the family who work hard, pay their way and play their part. Of the business that takes an apprentice although times which are tight. Of the communities that stick together even when the going is hard. And I've concluded that the very values that made our country great – the values of fairness and responsibility – are the surest foundations of our future success.

Markets are essential. They help us grow as a nation, they give us the resources to fight poverty, ignorance and disease and they serve the cause of freedom and prosperity. But it is now more clear than ever that markets need morals. Without that they go astray and can lead us to focus on the price of things, not the value of things. They can cause people to take reckless risks for which others pay the price.

From a speech by the Prime MInister at Labour's Spring Campaign Event