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Last Updated: Monday, 27 September, 2004, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Full text of Brown speech
Here is the full text of Gordon Brown's speech to the Labour Party conference in Brighton:

Let me say first of all, the thoughts of everyone at this conference are with Ken Bigley and all his brave family.

And all of us here - and I believe everyone throughout the country - will give and must give in these difficult times Tony Blair our full support.

Conference, I come here, after seven years as your Labour Chancellor, not just to tell you that we have done but to tell you how much more we have yet to do.

And I come to this conference after seven years of this New Labour government more idealistic than ever, more determined and more certain than ever about what it is our duty to achieve for Britain.

` No longer the most inflation prone economy, with New Labour, Britain today has the lowest inflation for thirty years.

No longer the boom-bust economy, Britain has had the lowest interest rates for forty years.

And no longer the stop-go economy, Britain is now enjoying the longest period of sustained economic growth for 200 years.

And no longer the country of mass unemployment, Britain is now advancing further and faster towards full employment than at any time in our lives.

And after decades of underinvestment, investment in schools is doubling, in policing doubling, in transport doubling, in housing doubling, and instead of 40 billion spent on the NHS in 1997, by 2008 110 billion for the NHS.

From being the party not trusted with the economy, this conference should be proud that Labour is today the only party trusted with the economy.

But for me, for us the Labour party, and for the country, this is not enough.

We have created 1.8 million jobs.

But for us, the Labour party, this is not enough.

We have lifted one million children and more than one million pensioners out of poverty.

But we must do more.

We have introduced the minimum wage and raised it by 35 per cent to make work pay.

But we will do more.

We have created one million child care places.

But we will go further.

Economic stability and new incentives have helped create 300,000 new businesses.

But that is not enough.

We will not rest until millions denied opportunity can achieve their aspirations and until the three million children living in poverty are growing up in a Britain where child poverty has been eradicated for good.

We will not rest until Britain's public services - starved for two decades, now being rebuilt - are reformed and renewed, an example to the world and the collective pride of our nation.

We will not rest until enterprise is open to all, creating hundreds more businesses in every community, and where the millions of men and women - some lone parents, some on incapacity benefit - who want to work will have the right to work, in a Britain where there is full employment in every region and every nation of our country.

In the last seven years we have started to win the argument, our party's argument, that you will never build a successful economy by writing off the talents of the unemployed.

That you will never build stability through the stop go, quick fixes of the past but - as with reforming the Bank of England - only through planning for the long term.

And we are winning the argument too that we must have low inflation to create growth, responsibilities in the new deal to create jobs, that more competition is essential to create prosperity and that private and public sectors must work together to create investment.

And with sustained public support for our decision to raise national insurance to pay for our reforms in the NHS, we are winning the argument that the way to fund and provide health care is not private insurance which insures only some of the people some of the time but national insurance which is insuring all of the people all of the time.

And we are showing - and we will honour, as Tony Blair has said, the agreement at Warwick - that by guaranteeing a minimum wage and proper rights at work that the modern route to prosperity is not exploitation in the workplace but fairness in the workplace.

And we are showing that through tax credits now paid to 6 million hard working families we can make work pay and reduce family poverty.

I believe that we have shown that when we make a compelling case and trust the progressive instincts of the British people we can build a shared sense of national purpose, we can build a progressive consensus that inspires the country, a consensus that prosperity and justice for all can advance together.

I tell this conference, for me, for this party and for this country, our achievements of the last seven years, important as they are, are not enough.

As British citizens, Labour party members, as parents we are called to ask: what kind of Britain would we be proud to hand on to our children and grandchildren.

A great Britain of aspiration and ambition where there are no barriers to achievement, no ceilings on talent, no cap on success and where the common sense of the age is that not just a few but everyone has the chance to fulfil their dreams and potential: that opportunity in education, in business, in culture and in leisure is genuinely equal and open not just for those born into wealth and privilege but for all.

A Great Britain where people say with pride, 'This is our country, Great Britain; we built it generation to generation upon the foundation of liberty duty and fairness; 'We are enriching it, extending new opportunities to all; 'A Britain where - because we recognise our shared needs, mutual obligations and linked destinies - it is not every man for himself not them against us, but we the people working together for a better life future for all'.

A patriotic vision learning from but different from America whom I admire for its enterprise but where - with 45 million without health insurance - great economic success is not matched by great social justice; learning from but different from the rest of Europe which has greater social cohesion but where, with 19 million out of work, that social cohesion is not matched by economic dynamism.

Our mission for Britain is both prosperity and justice for all.

And in our generation, I want us to build a shared national purpose, a British progressive consensus, much more than a set of individual policies announced by politicians but a set of beliefs that come to be shared by the British people - that Britain can lead by example as the first country of the global age where prosperity and justice advance together.

Our task therefore is not to consolidate the politics we inherited but by our words and deeds to transform people's view of what in our country is possible.

To seek to win not just votes but hearts and minds to a shared national purpose - far beyond the ranks of our party or any party.

And today we have to realise this vision amidst a profound set of economic changes unparalleled in our economic history which we can only meet by a unity of purpose together.

If only seven years ago there was no DVD, no digital TV, no broadband, a fraction of people with mobile phones or connected to the internet, then think of how in the next few years ever faster changes in digital technologies and genetics will touch upon every aspect of our lives and revolutionise our economy.

And we face these dramatic changes when developing countries are now rising to become world manufacturing centres.

competition fiercer than ever because India pays its workers just 18 a week, China 17, Philippines less than 17; China now exporting more than France, Italy and Britain; China and India now producing 4 million graduates every year.

But when people ask: whether in the face of this new global market in labour, capital, and goods we can still aspire to be the country which is not just for a few but for all of our children the greatest place to grow up in; whether we can still be a country where we can advance to full employment and where not just a few but all our young people can make the most of their talents; whether we can still hold fast to our vision of Britain, I say: in the face of these challenges, the future lies not in abandoning our vision of a Britain of opportunity for all - but making it come alive for our time.

Ours is a vision that works for Britain not in spite of our Labour values, but as I said last year, because of our Labour values.

For just as it will be the nations that fail to open up opportunity, get the best out of their people, fail to tap the potential of all their citizens that will rapidly fall behind, so it is also true that the countries that will succeed best in the global economy will be those that bring out the best talents of all no matter their birth, race, sex or background.

And my message to the country is that Britain will succeed best by showing the ingenuity, talents, dynamism, creativity and inventiveness of all our people are second to none.

But to those who say there should be no change without security, I tell you honestly: there can be no security without change.

And it is because nations will rise and fall at speed because no nation can ever now take its future prosperity for granted, and the race will be won by the skilled, the flexible, the enterprising and the creative that in the budget and pre budget report we will tackle one by one barrier by barrier the economic obstacles that hold us as a country back.

Our success depends first upon entrenching our hard won stability.

Facing a global recovery that is uneven and still fragile, where oil prices have doubled and imbalances have worsened, I will tell the G7 and IMF when I travel to Washington later this week that we will take no risks with inflationary pay deals, and from this Chancellor and this party no short-termism, no easy options, no irresponsible pre election promises.

We will never be complacent about stability.

We must show at all times we have the discipline and strength to take the tough long term fiscal and monetary decisions for Britain.

because, with the economy central to people's concerns at this next election as at every election, that is the way to entrench and retain the trust of the people on the economy and pay for the much needed reforms and investments in public services.

And we must seize not squander the opportunities our stability now offers us.

And in the pre budget report I will not disguise the scale of the long term scientific, technological, trade, environmental and social changes that every industrial economy now has to make.

Expanding our ten year science plan, so that we can be proud that new British ideas and inventions are turned into new British products, new British exports, that in turn create new British manufacturing jobs.

And expanding the R&D tax credit, most of which will go to manufacturing investment allowances, most to manufacturing, regional venture capital funds, much to manufacturing, and implementing the new regional manufacturing strategies agreed at Warwick we will prove to the world that in the new global economy far from manufacturing being a relic of the industrial revolution we will build in British factories from aerospace to pharmaceuticals, from engineering to fashion, in hardware and in software, a Britain of modern manufacturing strength.

Through stability and tax incentives and infrastructure, and by cutting red tape and planning delays, we want to see, in every community, enterprise flourish and John Prescott and I plan to do more to ensure that when local councils become ambassadors for new business creation and support schools and colleges promoting enterprise, councils get the benefit of new business not just in new jobs but the benefit of the n new business rates income that can pay for better local services.

And because affordable housing is the key to personal prosperity for millions, John Prescott and I will implement the barker review with new plans to bring homes within the reach of first time buyers, including expanding affordable housing for key workers in our public services.

China and India's wages are just five per cent of ours, but I say to you: we will not compete by lowering our wages or lowering standards but by raising our skills.

and so we will, at the coming election, make a historic promise: by moving beyond the voluntarist system of training that has failed, by extending nationwide our employer training pilots, Charles Clarke and I will make a reality of a second chance in education for all, for the first time guaranteeing to every single member of the workforce and every unemployed man and women who is without basic skills, the resources and the learning facilities to acquire the skills they need, giving them the choices they need to make the most of their talents.

And I want us to make a promise to all those over 16 in work or at school or colleges: for 16 and 17 year olds for the first time a New Labour guarantee of a minimum wage from the age of 16.

And by extending our education maintenance allowances, ending the injustice of teenagers in our poorest communities forced by family circumstance to leave school early even when they wanted to stay on, ensuring whatever your means or family background you can now stay on and fulfil your potential.

And when some claim it is wrong to set a target so that 50 per cent of our young people can enjoy higher education, telling us that more means worse, let us tell them what would be wrong is to put a cap on aspiration when today just 15 per cent of children from poorest families get to university - and when countries from America to Taiwan and Korea are moving towards 60 per cent and then 70 per cent, understanding aspiration is not a luxury it is an imperative.

And if we are to meet the global economic challenge, skills must be matched by flexibility and there will be no room for the old British complacency, or the old battles between public and private sectors - which must work together.

So I tell you honestly the public sector reform agenda - more flexibility, accountability and personalisation will not stall but be stepped up; we will go ahead with our civil service reforms; and if the government had 22 billion to spend it will not be for an expensive re-nationalisation.

We will put investment in schools and hospitals first.

It is simply wrong that people who lose their jobs can lose their pensions too, so in partnership with the trade unions we have set up the new pension protection fund, and for pension funds that have previously gone bust we have already put aside 400 million.

I tell you we will work with the unions to do what it takes to tackle the gross injustice of workers who through no fault of their own find their pensions have been destroyed.

I say to this conference: having adopted the New Labour policies - minimum income guarantee, the pension credit, the winter fuel payment, the state second pension - and cleared up the scandal of Tory pension mis-selling, and as Alan Johnson will say later in this debate, we will also respond to the new pension commission by doing what it takes to make sure that all workers can have security and dignity in retirement.

A Britain of prosperity and justice will continue to promote competition, liberalisation and reform to strengthen not just the economy of Britain but of Europe, because as pro-Europeans committed to the progress of the European Union we know that in the years to come the test that the British people will apply to Europe is that it embraces reform, resists federal fiscal policies, rejects tax harmonisation, and tackles, root and branch, the waste and excesses of the Common Agricultural Policy.

Here in Britain we seek to build a new progressive consensus not only in a new world of economic change but also of social change and new aspirations.

I'll tell you where now and in the next Parliament we can be pioneers for justice.

I'll tell you where the front line is in the battle against unfairness.

I'll tell you the new frontier for social change in our country.

When I look at over fifty years of the welfare state - and see: How little we in Britain have advanced towards equal pay; What little we have done for maternity rights; What little for child care; How much we still have to do to end centuries of discrimination against women in work and at home; How far we still have to go to eradicate child and family poverty; I know that it was a scandal that before 1997 it was our country - Britain - that did least in Europe and as a result wasted the potential and talents of millions.

And in the year 2004 we still cannot be satisfied as long a poor child is still three times more likely to die before the age of one than someone born to privilege.

We cannot relax when we know that the time from the cradle to the nursery school - the time that does most to determine life chances - is also the time when we offer mothers and fathers the least.

So as Patricia Hewitt has said we will now set as a goal for the next term, a total of twelve months paid parental leave giving parents more choice to stay at home for the first year of their child's life.

We will set up a commission on the gender pay gap and review the right for parents to request flexible working, because we have not yet done enough and we must do more.

And - in children's services - embracing diversity of provision, extending the range of effective choice, and working with charity, voluntary and private providers, the Pre Budget Report will, with Charles Clarke, set out a plan for high quality affordable child care for all and nursery education more suited to parents needs.

And with every school offering extended opening, and at the heart of every community a Children's Centre, a centre for childcare, health and education, this is the next stage of public serviced reform, the next stage of extending opportunity in our universal welfare state.

And because we want high quality childcare and children's services that in every area - as Sure Start has shown - listen to and meet the needs of children and parents, in the Pre Budget Report we are going to encourage and sponsor local forums up and down the country to listen to parents so that their voices are heard and their needs come first.

It is through extending tax credits - as the Burns family said this morning - that we will we meet our 2004 target to reduce child poverty by one quarter, and we must now advance to our next goal which is even more ambitious: to halve child poverty by 2010.

In this party we believe one child in poverty impoverishes us all.

But let us face the fact that we need to win more people to this cause.

So in every constituency we, the Labour party, must reach out beyond the Labour party, and reach out to voluntary charitable and community groups, reach out to every neighbourhood and build a progressive consensus that every child having the best start in life is the obligation this generation owes and will discharge to the next.

So our task is nothing less than building and sustaining a shared national purpose, the British progressive consensus, that no child in Britain is left behind and that our future lies not in two nations ever more divided by inequality but in one nation united in prosperity for all.

And how do we build and sustain this shared national purpose? Look back on previous governments - Great achievements, landmark reforms Many that stood the test not just of one parliament but the test of generations.

And in their time they sought to build a progressive consensus - the shared national unity of purpose essential for their ideas to endure so that no future government, no matter how different, was able to undo their reforms.

But we must ask ourselves why even for the historic 1906 and 1945 governments that after a few years the momentum that sustained them forward stalled, and that while the initiatives continued the impulse that supported change dimmed.

And there are two lessons we must learn.

First, even that great 1945 Labour government was undermined by economic failure.

So let me say honestly to the party and the country that in meeting the long term challenges ahead we must and will take no risks with the long term policies for stability and prudence I have and I will set out.

And the second lesson is that they failed to go out and deepen popular support for the next stage of their advance.

And instead of sustaining a progressive consensus in the country they failed even to sustain a consensus among themselves.

And so all of us must do whatever we can to ensure that we build the unity of purpose that this country needs by ensuring the strength of our unity of purpose in this party.

So I tell you that as a Party we must do more to learn the lessons of the past.

We must show we are rooted in our communities not remote from them.

Instead of retreating to being administrators for our policies we must also become evangelists for them.

And I know that I and all of us must do more if the Labour party's aspirations for Britain are to continue to be the British peoples aspirations for Britain and if we are to build and sustain that progressive consensus, We must reach out to people in new ways within and beyond the Labour party; Reinvigorate elected local government; Be open and transparent by reforming undemocratic institutions; And - united as a party around our long term vision - unite the country around our vision showing by what we do every day that the true purpose of politics is to serve your country.

And the big idea is that we will build and sustain a progressive consensus in our country for a Britain of prosperity and justice for all, a progressive consensus that the British people want to prevent any future government from undoing.

And so, I want everyone in this party to share in this ambition: for the first time in our party's history, a third term Labour government, creating that progressive consensus.

And this matters not just to us here in the Labour party or in Britain but far wider than that - to all countries especially developing countries seeking also to build economic prosperity and social justice for their people.

In 2000 the whole world came together to make a solemn promise for 2015, the millennium development goals: the promise of primary education for every child; the promise of an end to avoidable infant and maternal deaths; the promise of a halving of poverty.

But on current rates of progress, in Sub-Saharan Africa: The promise of primary education for all will be delivered not in 2015, but 2130, 115 years too late; The promise for the halving of poverty not by 2015, but 2150, 135 years too late; And the promise of cutting infant deaths not by 2015 but by 2165, 150 years too late.

And I say: 150 years is too long for a people to wait for justice; 150 years is too long to wait when infants are dying in Africa when there are medicines in the rest of the world to heal them; 150 years is too long to wait for promises to be redeemed and a bond of trust to be honoured; 150 years is too long to wait when all the world lacks is the will to act.

So I am proud that it is because of the work of Labour party members and the votes of Labour supporters that will allow me and Hilary Benn to travel as a Labour Chancellor, your representative, to go this week to Washington, and at the annual IMF, G7 and World Bank meetings and, with Jack Straw, make the case for our unique Labour proposals, as we work together to make poverty history.

That if the poorest countries draw up their anti-poverty programmes to open up trade and investment, and tackle corruption, we the richest countries will through an international finance facility ensure we honour the timetable to reach 0.

7 per cent of GDP and for the first time plan 50 billion more - to act against debt, disease, illiteracy, Aids and poverty.

But the contribution we can make is more than money.

It is the inspiration that comes from Britain leading by example by combining prosperity with justice.

If, as I said to you last year, we from here in Britain cannot win the battle for an NHS free at the point of need funded from taxation not charges then what hope is there for Africa - where the poor cannot afford to pay for even the most basic health care and where the only hope of tackling disease, illness and Aids is a health service free to all based on need not ability to pay.

But it is more than that: if we cannot show in Britain that state schooling free of charge is the best way forward for children then what hope is there for Africa or for the developing world - where the only hope for the 120 million children denied schooling is not paying for education but free education.

But if we can show a publicly funded health service free at the point of need delivers to all the people, If we can show modern state schooling free of charge is the best hope for all children, If we can show the ethic of public service is so strong that public services can provide efficiently for all people without having to privatise or charge, if we can show that here in Britain we can create not just a programme for prosperity and justice but a popular movement that says in clear unequivocal terms that it is prosperity and justice by which the British people want to be defined to the world, If we can show that when politics succeeds jobs are created, health improves, opportunity blossoms, and people flourish, Then what a difference our country can make to our world.

I have seen this ethic of public service at work; I have seen doctors and nurses who show not only exceptional skill and professionalism but extraordinary care and friendship; carers whose unbelievable compassion and support can transform despair into hope; home helps and support staff whose dedication, commitment and humanity show that there are values far beyond those of contracts, markets and exchange and that public service can be a calling and not just a career.

The ethic of public service summed up best in poetry: "It is the hands of others who grow the food we eat, who sew the clothes we wear, who build the houses we inhabit; "It is the hands of others who tend us when we're sick and lift us up when we fall; "It is the hands of others who bring us into the world and who lower us into the earth.

" So we are not isolated individuals but we depend on each other.

It is by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more together than we achieve alone.

It is by the strong helping the weak that we are all made stronger.

And in those famous words, while the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends towards justice.

So have confidence in our values.

Have confidence united in our values we will build the progressive consensus of prosperity and justice for all.

Have confidence our achievements are just a beginning: we have much more to do.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Chancellor Gordon Brown
"I believe Britain could be one of the great global success stories"



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