GORDON BROWN CANNOT BE THE
CHANGE THE COUNTRY NEEDS
In September 2007 Gordon Brown gave his first speech to the Labour Party conference as Prime Minister
and Leader of the Labour Party.
·This was a deeply uninspiring speech which gave no real indication of how Gordon Brown
would tackle the challenges facing Britain today. Instead, all we got was a shopping list of
reheated ideas and re-announcements. That’s not surprising given that he has been at the
centre of all the big mistakes made by this Labour government over the last ten years and that
is why he cannot be the change the country needs.
Brown’s Reheated Speech
·PERSONALISED NHS announced three years ago. Yesterday, Gordon Brown pledged an
NHS that is ‘accessible to all and personal to all’. But he first announced this three years ago
(Speech to the Social Market Foundation, 18 May 2004 and Pre-Budget Report 2004). His
record shows that he has resisted NHS freedom, ending the operational independence of the
NHS and GP control over budgets.
·MORE COMPETITIVE SPORT announced at least six times before. Gordon Brown
pledged that youngsters would get five hours of sport a week. Yet Brown and the Government
have already announced plans for more competitive sports in schools at least six times
(DCMS Press Releases, 11 January 2001, 21 May 2003, 9 September 2005; Daily Mail, 25
October 2006; The Times, 12 February 2007; Downing Street press release, 13 July 2007).
The small print shows that, as a result of Brown’s raid on the Lottery, the amount of money
going to grassroots sport from the Lottery has been cut from £397m in 1998 to £209m last
year (Hansard, 23 May 2006, Col. 1643WA and 25 June 2007, Col.49 WA).
·DORMANT BANK ACCOUNTS TO FUND YOUTH CENTRES announced at least four
times before. Gordon Brown said yesterday: ‘We will use unclaimed assets in dormant bank
accounts to build new youth centres, and we will invest over £670 million pounds so that in
every community there are places for young people to go’. He has already announced this
four times (Pre-Budget Report, 5 December 2005; Budget Speech, 22 March 2006; Speech
on the Legislative Programme, 11 July 2007; and Department for Children, Schools and
Families Press Release with Gordon Brown, 26 July 2007).
·ECO -TOWNS announced four times before. Gordon Brown promised: ‘For the first time in
nearly half a century we will show the imagination to build new towns - eco-towns with low
and zero-carbon homes. And today, because of the responses we have received, we are
announcing that instead of just five new eco-towns we will now aim for ten - building
thousands of new homes in every region of the country’. But he and the Government have
already announced this on four previous occasions (Communities and Local Government
News Release 2006/0010, 17 May 2006; Gordon Brown, Leadership acceptance speech, 24
June 2007;Legislative Programme speech, 11 July 2007; and DCLG, Homes for the future,
July 2007, pp. 26, 27). The Government pledged to build seven new eco-towns between 1997
and 2001 - then called Millennium Communities. Brown’s Housing Minister, Yvette Cooper,
has admitted that just one in ten of these planned new eco-homes have actually been built
(Hansard, 20 March 2007, Col. 820WA).
·MEDICAL RESEARCH announced three times before. Brown promised £15 billion for
medical research over ten years. But he has already announced similar funding on three
previous occasions (Budget speech, 17 March 2004;Hansard, 22 March 2006, Col. 290; and
Pre-Budget Report, 6 December 2006).
·FAMILY-FRIENDLY OPENING HOURS FOR GP SURGERIES announced three times
before. Gordon Brown said yesterday: ‘And so we will make GP hours more friendly to
families, open up opportunities to see a GP near your place of work as well as your home’.
This has already been announced three times (Our Health, Our Care, Our Say, 30 January
2006;Daily Telegraph, 15 May 2007; Leadership acceptance speech, 24 June 2007). The
small print reveals that it was Gordon Brown, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, who signed off
the new General Medical Services (GMS) contract in 2003-04 (Hansard, 15 May 2007, Col.
728WA) – which allowed GPs to opt out of providing cover before 8am and before 6.30pm.
The Government underestimated the cost of the new GP contract by £407 million (Hansard, 5
March 2007, Col. 1680WA).
·HOSPITAL MATRONS announced before. Gordon Brown said yesterday: ‘We will more
than double the number of hospital matrons to 5,000. This was announced in the NHS Plan,
published in July 2000. The small print reveals that by 2006 there were still only 1,982
‘modern matrons’ in the NHS (Hansard, 21 May 2007, Col. 1134WA).
· FAST-TRACK TREATMENT FOR CANCER announced before. Gordon Brown said
yesterday: We will ‘treat every suspected breast cancer as urgent and guarantee your
consultant can fast track you’. This was announced by Tony Blair in his speech to the Labour
Party Conference in 2000. The small print reveals that Labour’s much-vaunted 18-week
waiting time target excludes all treatments provided after the first treatment patients receive
in hospital. It excludes any follow–up radiotherapy or chemotherapy which is so essential to
·CANCER SCREENING announced before. Gordon Brown said yesterday: ‘We will now
extend the ages for breast cancer screening by six years’. This was announced by Tony Blair
in his speech to the Labour Party Conference in 2000.
·CARBON LIMITS announced twice before. Yesterday, Brown pledged to make Britain the
first country in the world to write into law binding carbon limits. He has announced this
twice previously (Labour Party Website, 31 October 2006; Speech to the Green Alliance, 12
March 2007). UK Carbon emissions have risen since 1997, from 549 million tonnes to 561.5
million tonnes in 2005 (DEFRA,Statistical Release, 31 January 2007).
·12 MONTHS MATERNITY LEAVE announced six times before. Gordon Brown said
yesterday: ‘It is right this year to raise it to nine months for all mothers on the road to 12
months paid maternity leave’. He and the Government have announced this on at least six
previous occasions (The Times, 3 December 2004; Tony Blair, BBC R4, Woman's Hour, 28
February 2005; GMTV, 27 February 2005; Budget 2005; Alan Johnson, DTI Press Release,
19 October 2005;Work and Families Act 2006, paragraph; and Budget 2007).
·BRITISH JOBS FOR BRITISH WORKERS announced three times before. Gordon Brown
pledged ‘British jobs for British workers’. He has previously announced this on three
occasions (Speech to the Labour Conference, 2006; Speech to the GMB Union, 5 June 2007;
andSpeech to the TUC, 10 September 2007). But it is impossible under EU Law and, in fact,
over 60 per cent of employment growth results from foreign workers moving to the UK.
(Hansard, 18 July 2007, Col 442W).
·AN ELECTED HOUSE OF LORDS announced before but then put on ice. Gordon Brown
again promised an elected House of Lords. He announced this in July (Ministry of Justice,
The Governance of Britain,p. 42), but it was put on ice by Jack Straw, who said: ‘I hope to
be able to publish afurther White Paper around the turn of the year setting out where we have
got to in the cross-party talks… Our intention through the work of the cross-party group is to
formulate a comprehensive reform package that we would put to the electorate as a manifesto
commitment at thenext general election and which hopefully the other main parties would
include in their manifestoes.’ (Hansard, 19 July 2007, col. 450, emphasis added).
·CHILD POVERTY rising despite Brown’s repeated announcements. Brown said yesterday
that the Pre-Budget Report would include new measures to meet his goal of abolishing child
poverty. But in 2003 Gordon Brown announced a review of new measures for tackling child
poverty (Budget speech, 9 April 2003) and new figures show that child poverty rose by
100,000 last year (DWP, Households Below Average Incomes, 2005-06).
·EVERY CHILD A READER announced twice before. Yesterday, Gordon Brown promised
an extension of the Every Child a Reader programme to 300,000 pupils by 2010-11. He has
announced this on two previous occasions (Pre-Budget Report 2006, Budget 2007) yet almost
half of 11-year olds cannot read, write and add up properly (National Curriculum
Assessments at Key Stage 2 in England, 2007 (Provisional), DCSF, 7 August 2007).
·RAISING SCHOOL LEAVING AGE announced before. Yesterday, Gordon Brown said:
‘Instead of education from 5 to 16, we will be offering free universal education to every child
– from nursery school at 3 to advanced studies or training right up to 18’. He previously
promised this as far back as 1996 and again in 2005 (Labour Party Press Release, 20
September 1996; andLabour Party Press Conference, 11 April 2005).
·HOME OWNERSHIP – pledges repeated year after year. Yesterday, Gordon B
rown said that
he would build millions of new homes and help people get onto the housing ladder. The
Government has promised this over and over again (Gordon Brown, Labour Party
Conference speech, 3 October 1994; Gordon Brown, Hermes Database: Government and
Local Councils Face Future Together, 10 July 1998; Response to Barker Review, HM
Treasury, 5 December 2005; Communities and Local Government News Release 2006/0010,
17 May 2006; Legislative Programme Statement, 11 July 2007). However, home ownership
is now falling, for the first time since records began. Total owner occupation fell from
14,646,000 in 2005 to 14,621,000 in 2006 (DCLG, Live Tables, S101: Trends in Tenure, as of
·RESTORING THE EARNINGS LINK TO THE STATE PENSION – announced over a year
ago. Gordon Brown said yesterday ‘And to honour those who raised us, I can affirm our
commitment to restore the link between the Basic State Pension and earnings’. This was first
announced by John Hutton in a statement to Parliament in May 2006. But Brown’s stealth tax
raid on pension funds will cost British pensions £100 billion (The Sunday Telegraph, 15
October 2006). And under Brown, nearly half of all pensioners– around 45 per cent in 2004-
05 - are subject to means testing (Projections of Pension Credit Entitlement, DWP, 2006).
Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4DP. Printed by the Conservative Party.
Copyright © 2007, the Conservative Party.