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Monday, July 26, 1999 Published at 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK


UK Politics

The main points of Labour's annual report

The government is on course to cut primary school class sizes

The annual report shows into the work of the government shows that half of Labour's manifesto commitments have been met.

Out of 177 manifesto commitments, 90 have been met, 85 are under way, but two have yet to be time tabled.

The report defines commitments as either "kept" or "done", "on course" or yet to be timetabled.

Education


Niall Dickson:"Education was Labour's first big pledge"
The key pledge of reducing class sizes to under 30 for five to seven year olds is underway.

The report says: "We are on course to meet our infant class size pledge by September 2001.


[ image: Commitment to up-grading school buildings has been kept]
Commitment to up-grading school buildings has been kept
"The 620m we are providing for extra teachers and classrooms will enable virtually all schools to meet the pledge that all children aged five, six and seven are taught in infant classes of 30 or fewer early - by September 2000."

It is on course to link schools to the information superhighway, saying every school in England and Wales will be linked to the Internet by 2002.

The pledge that every child will leave school with a reading age of 11 plus is also on course.

The government has kept its pledge for fresh starts for failing schools, including closing 32 schools completely.

It has also introduced education action zones, the first 25 being now in place.

The report also says commitments to improve school buildings have been kept and improving teacher training is on course.

The speedy but fair removal procedures for teachers is on course. A model "outline capability" procedure was sent to schools in November 1997 and is being monitored.

The 150m individual learning accounts scheme is also on course and a national framework should be implemented in 2000.

Economy

The government has kept its manifesto commitments for a 10p starting rate for income tax and no increases in basic and top rates of income tax, the report states.

It notes that there has been no extension of VAT to books or any other categories.

The pledge to maintain an inflation rate of 2.5% or below is on course.


[ image: The government has kept its pledge for a 10p tax rate]
The government has kept its pledge for a 10p tax rate
The report notes that home owners are experiencing the lowest mortgage rates in 30 years since the reform of the Bank of England, and the establishment of the Monetary Policy Committee, two years ago.

The government is on course to promote competition within utilities and greater commercial freedom for the Post Office.

The pledge to "enforce the golden rule in public finance" has been kept, saying the budget will be in surplus over the economic cycle.

The government has created eight regional development agencies in England, which started operating in April.

Recognition for unions where majority vote for it is on course and the introduction of the national minimum wage is completed.

The pledges to get 250,000 long term unemployed young people back to work and tackling long-term unemployment are both on course.

The New Deal was launched last summer and by the end of April more than 14,800 people had moved back to work.

The crackdown on benefit fraud is also on course. A strategy to tackle fraud and error was published in March 1999 and the government is estimated to save 1bn over this Parliament on income support alone.

Health

The government says its pledge to cut NHS waiting lists by 100,000 is course.


[ image: Waiting lists are on course to being cut, the government says]
Waiting lists are on course to being cut, the government says
An end to waiting for cancer surgery is also on course. Since April, all breast cancer patients have been guaranteed to see specialist within two weeks and from 2000, this will apply to all types of cancer.

The report says the pledge to end the NHS internal markets is done with the final elements being removed in April.

Work to introduce a new patients' charter, eliminate mixed sex wards, create a foods standards agency and ban tobacco advertising is all on course.

Crime and punishment

The pledge to halve the time from arrest to sentencing for young offenders is on course, having been cut from 142 days to 106 days so far, the report says.

Pledges to streamline youth courts and keep crime victims fully informed about their cases are on course.

The commitment to make racial harassment and racially motivated violence criminal has been done.

Social affairs

The national childcare strategy, 48 hour week, holiday rights and parental leave are on course.


[ image: A new public-private partnership for London Underground is on course]
A new public-private partnership for London Underground is on course
Plans to encourage flexible mortgages, stronger protection for home buyers, consult on ways to tackle gazumping are on course.

But a commitment to introduce commonhold has not yet timetabled although draft legislation in preparation.

The government has completed its pledge to retain universal child benefit and protect the basic state pension.

It has kept its pledge to retain state earnings related pension scheme and is on course to produce a framework for stakeholder pensions and proposals for pension-splitting on divorce.

The Royal Commission on Long Term Care has been completed and a long term care charter is on course.

Transport and Environment


[ image: Plans to encourage flexible mortgages are on course]
Plans to encourage flexible mortgages are on course
A government has developed an integrated transport policy.

It is on course to keep pledges for better rail regulation, new public-private partnership for London underground, proper regulation of buses and making cycling and walking safer.

It is also on course to keep its pledges for greater access to countryside and greater protection for wildlife.

Parliament and politics

The manifesto commitments to end voting rights of hereditary peers and modernise the Commons are on course

A ban on the foreign funding of political parties and a referendum on voting systems are on course.

The introduction of a Freedom of Information Act is on course.

The establishment of Scottish and Welsh assemblies has been completed and a strategic authority and mayor for London is on course.

But legislation on referenda on directly-elected regional government has not yet time tabled.

A commitment to ensure "swift and fair asylum decisions" is on course.

The pledge to "carry forward the Northern Ireland peace process" has been kept.

Proportional representation for European elections, retaining the national veto and holding a referendum on the single currency have also been kept.



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