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Monday, September 27, 1999 Published at 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK

UK Politics

Brown: We've only just begun

The prime minister led the standing ovation for the speech

The government has only just begun its task of transforming life in Britain, Chancellor Gordon Brown has told the Labour Party conference.

In his keynote speech, Mr Brown promised to tackle the scourge of persistent unemployment within a generation through a policy of "credible and radical" socialism.

The chancellor trumpeted the gains made by workers as a result of the introduction of the minimum wage.

He revealed 500,000 people had now entered the government's New Deal programmes aimed at getting them into work.

But Mr Brown said there was still much work to do to. "For the new Britain we hope for we have only just begun," he said.

The BBC's Robin Oakley: "A party torn between instinct and obedience"
The government remained committed to creating a "new Great Britain of great opportunities for all people in our land," he said.

Referring to the Labour Party's centenary celebrations, Mr Brown insisted that the party would continue to represent the values which he said inspired its creation.

"Justice, fairness and economic progress; the same values yesterday, today and tomorrow."

Public spending warning

The BBC's Political Correspondent John Pienaar : "Once it was very different"
However, Mr Brown warned unions and party activists not to expect large increases in public spending above those already announced.

"In the years ahead, we will always be vigilant about stability, our Labour government will never take risks with inflation," he said.

Chancellor Gordon Brown: "Stability and prudence for the economy"
"I will never let the deficit get out of control. We will not spend money we have not earned.

"Our years of responsibility in government have just begun. We will never again let Tory economics ruin people's lives."

Full employment hopes

BBC World At One's Nick Clarke assesses the Chancellor's speech
The chancellor sought to appease calls for more investment in public services by claiming that economic prudence had put the goal of full employment within grasp.

"A high and stable level of employment is our goal. Not jobs for life, which no government can promise to deliver, but job opportunities for all throughout their working life. That is our challenge," he said.

[ image: The chancellor says full employment is within reach]
The chancellor says full employment is within reach
"If those who work take responsibility to work, if employers take responsibility to train and invest and if all of us show some responsibility in pay, then Britain can deliver in our generation employment opportunity for all - a goal that this party and this movement has long sought, a goal now within reach for the 21st century."

But Mr Brown also stressed the importance of business and entrepreneurship in achieving the government's economic goals.

"We must never again become a party that is seen as anti-success, anti-competition, anti-profit and anti-markets," he said.

But Mr Brown also stressed that the government would defend consumers by pressing ahead with measures to force banks and companies to end anti-competitive practices and charges.

Union plea for cash

Mr Brown won a standing ovation from delegates for his speech.

But his call for restraint in public spending was not welcomed by some union leaders.

Addressing the conference after chancellor, John Edmonds of the GMB general union. he warned the government should not sit on the growing billions of pounds in Treasury coffers.

"If we have extra money in the next two years it certainly should not go on tax cuts. The priority must be to restore and expand our hard-pressed public services," Mr Edmonds said.

Shadow chancellor Francis Maude dismissed Mr Brown's hopes for full employment, saying Labour's economic policies were actually damaging job prospects.

"Gordon Brown talks about full employment but the extra taxes and regulations he has loaded onto businesses are actually threatening jobs," he said.

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