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Sunday, 3 December, 2000, 15:03 GMT
Andrew Lansley
DECEMBER 3rd, 2000

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: Well apparently this week William Hague is going to unveil his scheme for cutting spending, cutting taxes and yet maintaining all the key services planned by Labour. The Tories believe they slash 8 billion a year off public spending without touching funding for health or education, most of the money will come from reducing waste in government administration and security. The Shadow Cabinet Minister Andrew Lansley is with us now, joining us from Westminster, Andrew good morning.

ANDREW LANSLEY: Good morning David.

DAVID FROST: Most people are saying, looking at this, as we mentioned there, that it's waste in government, growth of bureaucracy, all those, fraud, all those things that tend to always be used when no one can find anything really tangible?

ANDREW LANSLEY: Well it is important to make those changes because, for example, I will be announcing today the details of how we can reverse Labour's 2 billion increase in the running costs of government departments. That's 2 billion more than was planned to be spent by the last Conservative administrative who were keeping the costs of running central government departments constant in cash terms. So it is very important to do that because that, as it were, takes out the overhead cost and as you rightly suggest means we can improve public services at the same time as returning to a tax-cutting agenda.

DAVID FROST: Yes obviously we won't go back over the ground we've done before about whether it's 8 billion that you have to deal with or 16 billion as Labour alleges. But what about the problem that all these things are so intangible, you know I'm sure you've read, almost every government says they're going to cut fraud and do something about social security and overheads and so on. Everyone says it and nobody ever really ever does it?

ANDREW LANSLEY: Well I think you'll find that when you see some of the things that William Hague will be referring to later this week, and some of the things we've already said, there are some very specific things, for example our guarantee that those who can work must work will actually deliver considerable savings as well as helping people into work. The fact that loan parents whose children, whose youngest child reaches the age of 11, that they will return to work in order to secure unemployment benefit and additional support. That, that will mean that there will be better outcomes for those children and for those parents as well as saving money for the taxpayer and so there's a range of these things, our Britain Works proposal based on the American Works system of getting payment by results for getting people into work, will be much more cost-effective than the new deal. So we can, we can look to specific reforms that will deliver savings for the taxpayer and better results in public services.

DAVID FROST: And your colleague Mr Streeter, have you had a word with him about, about his predictions that it's going to be very, very difficult, if not impossible, to win the next election, you've only got five or six months, do you think, do you think he was wrong to say that?

ANDREW LANSLEY: Well I, I read what Gary said, I haven't had a chance to speak to him since, it seems to me that Gary was being, like all of us, ambitious for what we can achieve, to capture a voice for the British people in the 21st century is an ambitious task. This year William Hague has shown on a number of issues, he talks for the British people on the subject of Europe and they agree with him, he talks about, for example, the importance of getting money into the basic state pension and treating pensioners with respect and dignity and I think people agree with him. He talked about tackling crime and getting more police on our streets and I'm sure people agree with him.

DAVID FROST: At the same time people don't agree with him when it comes to public opinion polls of course, that they've been really gloomy again this week?

ANDREW LANSLEY: Well opinion polls come and go but when one looks at the results in elections, for example local government elections take place each week and if you'd been in Stroud last Thursday you'd have seen a couple of local government by-elections where there 20 per cent plus swings to the Conservative Party. Actually the biggest changes in the recent weeks has been that the Liberal Democrats have been disappearing and Labour have been benefiting from that. But we will in due course because there are increasingly people who are let down by Labour who feel they cannot trust them any more and we will, in the policies that we're setting out, give them a reason and an opportunity to come to the Conservative Party.

DAVID FROST: Okay Andrew, thank you very much indeed for joining us this morning.

ANDREW LANSLEY: Thank you David, it's a pleasure.

DAVID FROST: There you, there you have the way that the money is going to be computed, the 8 billion Labour says they've got to find 16 billion, but anyway you heard how it's going to be computed, thank you, thank you indeed Andrew.

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