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Prime Minister, Tony Blair
"The election on June 7th really matters"
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The BBC's Mike Baker
looks at the big changes ahead for schools, whichever party wins the general election
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The BBC's Peter Morgan
Analyses why recruitment of teachers is proving so difficult
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Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 21:02 GMT 22:02 UK
Labour targets voter apathy
Tony Blair launches Labour poster
Labour to focus on schools and hospitals
Labour has launched a major campaign to get voters into polling booths on election day.

The party has unveiled its latest advertising drive telling voters to remember to put schools and hospitals first on 7 June.

The choice is to put schools and hospitals first

Tony Blair
Ministers are telling people they have a "clear choice" between putting schools and hospitals first or putting them last by voting for the Conservatives.

But the Tories have accused Labour of misleading voters in saying that it would not be possible to increase spending on public services and cut taxes.

Labour has printed one million leaflets and will telephone thousands of voters, particularly those voting for the first time, over the next few days urging them to go to the polling booths.

Clear choice

Prime Minister Tony Blair told a rally of Labour supporters in Croydon in London on Thursday night that voters had "a clear choice" between the main parties.

"This election is about the British people giving us the marching orders for change," he said.

He continued: "We want to put schools and hospitals first, not a return to cuts."

Earlier at Labour's morning news conference he said: "Vote for schools, vote for hospitals, vote against 20bn Tory cuts in schools and hospitals.

Labour will try to put investment in schools and hospitals at the heart of its campaign agenda in the final days before polling day.

Second term 'crusade'

Mr Blair promised a "crusade" on health and education if Labour is re-elected.

"Our cause in a Labour second term and our crusade every day in the last week of this campaign will be to put schools and hospitals first - a cause and a crusade not just for the next seven days, but for the next parliament.

Shadow chancellor Michael Portillo
Mr Portillo said Labour was trying to mislead
"Nothing could more powerfully show the contrast between the two main parties and the choice before the country."

"Long after the last poster has been launched, long after the last press conference is over, and long after the last vote has been cast, what will count is whether the hard working families of Britain have better schools for their children and the best health care when they need it," he said.

"We share their hope and their ambition."

Cabinet minister Margaret Beckett said the party was implementing an "unprecedented and inventive organisational strategy to communicate with voters".

Youth vote

As well as making thousands of calls a day to voters, she said the strategy would include distributing one million leaflets over the coming weekend, and a further three million eve of poll leaflets next week.

Mrs Beckett said: "All of these materials will convey the real choice facing British voters - 20 billion of cuts and boom and bust with the Tories or schools and hospitals first with Labour."

Shadow chancellor Michael Portillo said the Tories were planning to increase spending on public services and to cut tax.

"The difference between us is that the Labour party believes government money is government money whereas we believe it is taxpayers money."

He said Labour was being misleading by suggesting it was a simple choice between tax cuts and investment.

"Of course it is possible to have more money spent on public services and cut taxes."


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