Message to the PLP
Gordon Brown has sent a letter to all members of thePLP ahead of Labour Party Annual Conference.
As we head to our conference in Manchester, our focus is upon helping the British people come through this turbulent economic time, and on our defining mission of building a fairer Britain – winning the fight for Britain’s future.
This week’s international financial turbulence has shown that we are going through a period of extraordinary global change that is taking us into a new world. In this country we will take the tough, decisive action necessary to protect the stability of the economy and to get the financial system moving, as we have done this week and as we did with Northern Rock.
Our first task is immediate support for hard-pressed families struggling with the impact of this global financial turbulence. That is why this month we have been helping families with:
•A comprehensive £1 billion housing package that helps first-time buyers; a one-year Stamp Duty holiday for all homes costing under £175,000; and to help vulnerable homeowners in difficulty, a new mortgage rescue scheme and a more generous safety net to help prevent repossessions.
•Help for families to reduce their energy bills – not just this winter but permanently – with a £1 billion increase in our national programme for household energy efficiency. We have pledged to increase:othe winter fuel payment by £50 to all pensioners (and an extra £100 for the over 80s) this winter;oeleven million older and vulnerable people will be eligible for free loft and cavity wall insulation and other energy saving measures that could save them up to £300 a year in their energy bills. Every household will be eligible to get at least 50% off energy saving insulations.oCold weather payments for the most vulnerable from £8.50 to £25 a week.And we will encourage people to save an average of £150 per household on pre-payment meters and £100 for households on standard credit by switching suppliers and moving to direct debit, in addition to the up to £300 of savings they can make through energy efficiency measures. To make sure people across the country can take advantage of the help on offer and save as much money as possible, we will run a national TV and press information campaign to publicise what help is available.
•A £120 family tax cut that begins to come into force this month.And as we face the challenges that change brings, we must restate the case for our party and values. Fairness matters more at a time of profound change such as this.Fair rules, fair chances, and a fair say for everyone: that is the new deal for this new world.Fair rules with our tough measures to punish and prevent crime; with neighbourhood policing a reality in our local communities; the new points based system for immigration and new tougher, but fairer rules for citizenship; and welfare reform so that those who can work, do work.Fair chances by investing in education and skills for all our people; help for older people; and new support for parents to help ease the pressures of bringing up children.
And a fair say for all with a new approach to public services to give parents, patients and the public greater control over the services they use; a new wave of NHS reform to make the National Health Service a personal health service; and accelerated schools reform.As we work to build a fairer Britain, we face a Conservative Party that has changed its image, but has not undertaken a serious reappraisal of policy or ideology. They have followed a deliberate strategy of avoiding difficult policy choices but when they do make decisions, we see their instincts still lead them down the road of policies that are unchanged and unfair:
•On tax, their first priority is to divert £1 billion to the 3,000 richest estates in Britain;
•On levels of investment in public services, David Cameron says the differences between Labour and the Tories will be ‘dramatic’ and ‘fundamental’. And they have committed to cuts to Sure Start and to cut £4.5 billion from school building plans;
•And on tackling poverty, they refuse to commit to Labour’s target on child poverty and the means by which we are cutting child poverty.
I am confident that we can come through this difficult time and meet the challenges we face a stronger, more secure, and fairer country than before.
And that we can show people more clearly that the choice at the next election will be between a Conservative Party which still believes in helping the few and not the many; and a Labour Party which believes in fairness and opportunity for all and has the policies to deliver them."