Brown 'wants to control everything from centre'

Gordon Brown was identified yesterday as the chief obstacle to reform of schools and hospitals and accused of being obsessed with central control.

Michael Howard said Mr Brown was refusing to "let go of his tight grip" on public services to allow greater freedom to be given to doctors, nurses, patients and teachers.

"These are the powers and freedoms that Gordon Brown doesn't want them to have," the shadow Chancellor said. "He wants to control everything from the centre."

He accused Mr Brown of wanting to block reform of public services so he could hang on to power.

"Make no mistake, the Gordon Brown way is the Labour way. And there is plenty of Gordon Brown in Tony Blair too," he said. "So the rhetoric may be bold, but the reality is Brown." Mr Howard said the Chancellor had remained silent about failings in his management of the economy. He accused him of failing in his speech to the Labour conference last week to admit the loss of about 400,000 manufacturing jobs.

Mr Howard also accused the Government of "heaping" businesses with "the burdens of red tape and tax". He claimed the Government had introduced 4,642 regulations last year. But the Cabinet Office said 97 per cent of the new regulations dealt with issues such as road repairs and foot-and-mouth regulations.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments