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"What the government wants: better teaching, higher standards"
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Thursday, 13 July, 2000, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Blair promises spending rise
Cabinet Office Minister Mo Mowlam with the government's annual report
Mo Mowlam launches sales of the government report
The prime minister has promised more public spending to deal with what he says is the 'chronic under-investment' Labour inherited from the Conservatives.

Government report
1m jobs created by New Deal
1m children lifted out of poverty
NHS waiting lists down to 1,054,000
5,000 more doctors
10,000 more nurses
Tony Blair made the commitment while detailing the government's third annual report to MPs.

Opposition parties dismissed the glossy 64-page document as a gimmick, which they said lacked objectivity.

The publication of the report, seen as a key part of Labour's fightback after a rocky few weeks, coincided with a warning by Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain, who said the government was out of touch with the voters.

Investment 'guaranteed'

Mr Blair told MPs that the government's key goals remained health, education and transport, while he was keen to point that unemployment was down, inflation was down and wages were up.

Mr Blair told a House of Commons that was sparsely attended for such a key statement: "The priorities remain education, education, education."

A lot more needs to be done and this government will do it

Tony Blair
He said the government would tackle any remaining problems in the school system with: "Investment, investment, investment guaranteed."

Turning to transport, he said substantial extra investment was needed. "We admit it. The 10-year transport plan to be published shortly will show how it can be done."

On crime, the prime minister promised more police officers.

Tony Blair: More investment needed
The prime minister also acknowledged: "There is a lot done. But a lot more needs to be done and this government will do it."

Turning to the health service, he said waiting lists for in-patients were down and the next stage would be to create a "sustained fall in outpatient waiting".

'Self-congratulatory nonsense'

Replying to the prime minister, Tory leader William Hague gave the report short shrift, saying simply: "How are we to believe any of this rubbish?"

The report, he said, was "self-congratulatory nonsense."

Mr Hague asked the House: "Shouldn't we have a real annual report on this government?"

Then attacking Labour point by point on its promises, he said: "No tax increases at all, abandoned. Twenty-four hours to save the NHS, abandoned. Ethical foreign policy, abandoned.

"Broken promises, done. Weak leadership, done. Split on the euro, done."

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy also rounded on the government.

He asked Mr Blair if it was not reasonable to expect anyone writing a report about themselves to be self-congratulatory.

Then Mr Kennedy suggested: "If this is to be a meaningful exercise in the future - shouldn't it be one made on an independent audit?"

Report on the web

The report, which has cost 170,000 to produce in print and on the Internet, is on sale in bookshops and supermarkets at 2.99.

It has also been published on the government's website, where members of the public are able to see a breakdown of government activity in their own area by typing in their postcode.

In the report, which is based on the commitments laid out in Labour's 1997 manifesto, Mr Blair wrote: "We are on the way to meeting our five election pledges and 10-point contract with the people."

Annual report, point by point

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See also:

13 Jul 00 | UK Politics
The annual report at a glance
13 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Annual report cuts out the spin
13 Jul 00 | Business
Big spender 'still prudent'
13 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Annual report: a hostage to fortune?
13 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Ministers seen as 'automatons' - Hain
12 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Blair moves back to substance
12 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Blair denies 'annus horribilis'
05 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Labour dubbed 'government of gimmicks'
05 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Questions over Blair's Commons blunders
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