This general election is a choice between a Conservative government
paralysed by recession, and a Labour government determined to
get on with building recovery.
Gripped by the longest recession since the war, Britain needs a government with a clear sense of direction and purpose. A government with the people and the policies to get Britain working again and to achieve sustained recovery - strength with staying power.
Labour will be such a government.
But this election is not only a choice between policies, important though both are. It is also a choice between values.
At the core of our convictions is belief in individual liberty.
We therefore believe:
First, that for liberty to have real meaning the standards of community provision must be high and access to that provision must be wide.
Second, that those rights of the individual must, like all others in a free society, belong to all men and women of every age, class and ethnic origin and be balanced by responsibilities of fair contribution and law-abiding conduct.
Third, that for rights and responsibilities to be exercised fully and fairly, government in Britain as in other industrialised democracies, must work to build prosperity by properly supporting research, innovation, the improvement of skills, the infrastructure and long-term industrial development.
Our vision for Britain is founded on these values. Guided by them, we will make our country more competitive, creative, and just; more secure against crime, aggression and environmental danger. We want government to serve the whole nation - using its power to realise this vision.
Labour will be such a government.
These are our convictions and we will work to fulfil them. They are also down-to-earth aims - essential objectives in a country hit by recession, suffering run-down public services and facing the intensifying pressures of European and global economic competition.
Ml of those realities require that the government provides: a stable economic environment; education and training that fosters the abilities of all young people and adults; a firm emphasis on productive investment in both the public and private sectors.
Labour will implement and maintain those policies. They are vital for prosperity, for consistently low inflation and for continuous improvement in economic performance and living standards. They are also fundamental to improving the quality and quantity of provision in health and social services, and to combating poverty We have absolute commitment to a high-quality National Health Service, free at time of need and not fractured and weakened by underfunding and a commercialised contract system. We will get on with fulfilling that commitment from the moment of our election - by strengthening and modernising the NHS, by extending care in the community and by establishing the National Health Initiative to prevent illness.
Our pledges to increase the income of pensioners and families with children will urgently be fulfilled. Our undertakings to stop the perpetual experiments in schools and to raise standards of investment and achievement in education will be kept in full.
These policies - like those to increase house-building, improve transport and protect the environment - are not only important to the well-being of the British people now. They are vital preparations for the future. In that future, we are determined that Britain will be a leader in the New Europe, setting higher standards and not surrendering influence by opting out. We have confidence in our country and in the qualities and potential of its people. We want to nourish their artistic, scientific, sporting and other abilities. And we want to enhance their democratic power too. We shall therefore make constitutional and other changes that will give renewed vitality to our democracy We shall empower people as citizens and as consumers of public and private services. We
will strengthen equality before the law and equality of opportunity for the majority of the population -women. Neither their legal status nor their chances in education, training and employment are full or free. We will ensure that the barriers to fairness are removed.
These policies, like many others, manifest our practical commitment to freedom. That purpose is not confined to the shores of our country. In an age where liberty has made great advances in the world, there is still conflict, instability and want, causing great misery and inhibiting the peace and co-operation which we want to help to build. We shall, therefore ensure that our country has the defence capacity, the strength of alliance and the peace-making commitment necessary to safeguard the United Kingdom, to participate in international negotiations for disarmament, to deter aggression and to contribute to constructing a New World Order, now feasible through the strengthened United Nations.
In our relations with the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe as well as with the poverty-stricken peoples of the South, we will work from the principle that political freedom needs the sure foundation of economic security. In this increasingly inter-dependent world there are no distant crises. The Labour government will therefore, as a matter of moral obligation and in the material interests of our country, foster the development and trade relationships necessary for the advance of economic security, political democracy and respect for human rights.
The United Kingdom has been through 13 years in which unemployment has more than doubled, irreplaceable assets have been wasted, markets at home and abroad have been lost, manufacturing investment has fallen, poverty has increased, the crime rate has rocketed, and talents have been neglected.
Now our country faces clear alternatives.
A Conservative government would mean a repeat of the same, stale policies which brought economic insecurity, privatised and underfunded public services and increased social division. The Conservatives have no policies which would mean sustained recovery, higher health care or improved educational standards. The arrogance remains which brought us the poll tax, centralisation in Britain and isolation in Europe.
If they can't get it right in 13 years, they never will.
The Labour government will mean a fresh start for Britain. It will mean strong and continued emphasis on investment for economic strength. It will mean action to help families, fair taxation, incentives for enterprise and support for essential community services.
It will mean greater freedom, securitv and opportunity. It will mean change for the better.
It's time to make that change.
It's time for Labour.
Today. millions of people fear losing their job, their home or their business. The new Labour government's National Recovery Programme will start to remove that fear with immediate action on investment. jobs and training. It will combat recession now and build sustained and sustainable recovery for the future.
Britain's economic problems are deep-seated. We will not be able to do at once everything that we would like to do. But we will get down to business right away. And as with any properly-run business. our immediate programme will be part of a strategy for long-term success.
Action for industry
1 We will provide enhanced capital allowances to encourage companies immediately to bring forward manufacturing investment in new machinery and plant, innovation and design. This will last for a limited period.
2. We will introducc an investment tax incentive tailored to the special needs of small businesses.
3. We will immediately begin the phased release of receipts from the sale of council houses land and property receipts to allow local authorities to build new homes and improve old ones. More building workers in the recession-savaged construction and building supply industries will be employed and more families rehoused. Equivalent arrangements will be made in Scotland.
4. We will allow British Rail to proceed with a leasing scheme of 188 new Networker trains on the North Kent line - the first step in securing private investment to help modernise Britain's railways and protect our environment.
Action for jobs
5. Housing investment will generate jobs. We will also establish a work programme combining three days a week work for the unemployed - paid at the proper rate - with two days' training and job seeking. This will benefit the community and ensure that unemployed people are offered a range of employment and training opportunities. The programme which can be quickly and easily established will allow us to start bringing down unemployment immediately. Our aim is to prevent long-term unemployment rather than just trying to cope with it after it has occurred
Action for skills and schools
6. We will restore last year's training cuts which caused so much damage to training for young people and the unemployed. We will establish a new cash-limited Skills for the 90s fund with an initial budget of £300 million, to upgrade the training of those in work. Investment will be targeted particularly at areas of skill shortages and will
give people who are now unskilled the chance to acquire basic skills.
7. Over the next 22 months, additional resources of at least £600 million will be available for investment in education. Amongst other projects, this will help to tackle equipment shortages and the backlog of school repairs.
Action for the NHS
Over the next 22 months. additional at least £1 billion will be available for investment in the National Health Service. This will help the NHS to make real advances in care and treatment.
Action for children
9. We will start to increase nursery education places for three and four year olds by making sure that local councils actually use the money they receive for nursery education to create new places and by switching capital funds
earmarked for the City Technology College programmes. This will lead to the rapid creation of 25,000 new places.
10. We will extend the exemption from tax which applies to workplace nurseries to all forms of employer assistance with childcare.
Every action we propose makes sense by itself. Together our proposals add up to a co-ordinated programme for recovery.
By investing in house-building and repairs, we start to rehouse homeless people.
By investing in public transport, we start to transform commuters' lives and create a cleaner environment.
By investing in the NHS, we offer new security to the patients and the public.
By investing in education we nourish the talents of children and lay the basis for future success.
With each step we employ more workers in industries from construction and computer software to high-tech engineering printing and publishing. We enable businesses to thrive. We save taxpayers' money on benefits. We transform unemployment claimants into employed contributors.
Labour's programme for national recovery will this year help bring Britain out of recession. Public investment will modernise services help business and industry and stimulate private investment. It will make you and your family better off.
Britain is in a race for economic survival and success. Faced
with intense competition, companies and countries can succeed
only by constantly improving their performance. Every employee
in every enterprise must be involved in a new partnership so that
trained and talented people can use the most modern technologies
to create top-quality products.
But none of this will happen with a government that believes that the best thing is to do nothing. Three thousand men and women have lost their jobs on every working day since John Major became Prime Minister. Every week 900 businesses go bankrupt. Every dav 200 families lose their homes.
The Conservatives have created the longest recession for 60 years. They have no idea how to get us out of it and even less idea how to stay out of it. Britain needs a Labour government which will back British industry in the way our competitors back theirs.
A government which business can do business with
Modern government has a strategic role not to replace the market
but to ensure that the market works properly. Other competitors
in Europe and elsewhere recognise that industrial policy must
be at the heart of economic policy. It is the government's responsibility
to create the conditions for enterprise to thrive.
Business needs sustained and balanced growth, with stable exchange rates, steady and competitive interest rates and low inflation. We will deliver them.
Business must have a high level of education science and skills. Incentives for high-tech investment. Modern transport.
Strong regional economies for new developments. We will deliver them.
We will keep prices down
Inflation has been suppressed by recession. But it has not been
To curb inflation. Labour will maintain the value of the pound within the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. We will manage credit sensibly. We will stop excessive price rises in water, electricity, telephones, transport and NHS prescriptions.
The only way to defeat inflation in the medium term is to raise productivity substantially. By promoting investment and improving skills we will tackle the underlying causes of inflation.
We will introduce fair taxes
Attacking poverty is an essential component of Labour's programme
for national recovery and prosperity. The most effective way to
reduce poverty quickly is to increase child benefit and pensions
and take low-paid people out of taxation. To achieve these goals,
we will reform the national insurance and income tax system.
We will increase child benefit to £9.95 a week for all children with the full value going to every family. This measure will benefit seven million families and is worth £127.40 a year to a family with two children.
We will increase the basic retirement pension by an extra £5 a week for a single person and £8 for a married couple. All pensioners will receive the full increase which will also go to widows and others on benefits linked by statute to the basic pension level. Twelve million people will benefit.
We will abolish the two per cent national insurance contribution on earnings under £54 a week - effectively a £56 annual entry fee into the national insurance system.
At present employees earning less than
£405 a week pay contributions on all their earnings, while above that level no contributions are paid at all. This is an unfair anomaly in our tax structure. The ceiling on contributions will therefore be abolished.
We will take 740,000 taxpayers out of taxation altogether by increasing the personal allowance and wife's earned income allowance by more than inflation. Married couples will have the option of splitting the married couple's allowance between them as they choose.
The basic rate of tax will remain unchanged at 25 per cent, as will the 40 per cent rate. A new top rate income tax of 50 per cent will apply to individuals with an income of at least £40,000 this year.
Labour's tax and benefit changes are self-financing. They are fair. And they will make every individual employee on earnings up to at least £22,000 a year better off.
We will reform decision-making
Britain urgently needs a better way of making economic decisions.
Government must decide at the same time how much to spend and
how to pay for spending. The Budget should decide both.
Every autumn, we will make a State of the Nation report on the British economy. Our national economic assessment will then allow employers, trade unions and other social partners to consider Britain's competitiveness and the competing claims on national output. These considerations will be an important influence on collective bargaining.
In order to provide honest information about the state of the British economy, we will make the Central Statistical Office independent and free from political interference.
We will halt the deterioration which has taken place in the pay and conditions of many public service workers - often through pay settlements which have been arbitrarily imposed upon them. We will seek fairer and more rational ways of determining public sector pay within clearly defined budget limits.
We will cut unemployment
We are determined to make a swift reduction in unemployment and
have explained in our NationaI Recovery Programme just how this
will be done. It includes immediate action for unemployed people,
as well as direct investment - for instance, in construction -
to create thousands of new jobs.
Steady and sustained economic growth will generate jobs that last. Better training will help people get back to work.
Unemployment must be tackled by the European Community as a whole. We will use our influence in Europe to secure the necessary policies for co-ordinated growth.
We will modernise Britain's industries
It is time to rebuild Britain's industrial strength. For lasting
recovery, Britain needs a modern industrial policy designed to
build skills, upgrade technology, encourage industry in every
region and expand exports.
An Investment Decade for Britain will start with the immediate introduction of enhanced investment allowances (see page 9). We will help Britain's high-technology industries with a 25% tax credit for additional investment in
research and development. Small firms will be assisted with a new investment scheme, combining a cash-limited fund for new investments with tax incentives tailored to heir special needs.
Britain's industrial future depends on transforming our inventive genius into manufacturing strength. Labour will work with industry to establish British Technology Enterprise and create Technology Trusts throughout Britain, building bridges between industries and universities and helping firms turn good ideas into commercial products. We will encourage the development of the most modern telecommunications networks.
Labour's Minister for Science will develop a national strategy to promote high-quality science and technology, so that Britain can better anticipate and respond to the challenges of the future.
All over the world, industries face unprecedented environmental challenges. We will support new research into
environmentally-friendly technologies and launch a Great Environment Exhibition to publicise and to promote sales of the cleanest British technologies.
We will strengthen our regional economies
We will establish new Regional Development Agencies in England,
strengthen Scottish Enterprise and the Welsh Development Agency
and modernise regional incentives. Regional agencies will become
powerhouses for industrial development, encouraging investment,
technology and skills. The Scottish Parliament will have a vital
role in building the competitive strength of the Scottish economy.
Our new Welsh Assembly will also have important economic responsibilities.
Labour's National Investment Bank, operating on strictly commercial lines, will bring public and private sector together to invest in long-term regional and national infrastructure projects.
Small and growing businesses will have a new deal. As well as the lowest possible interest rates, they need the backing on which their competitors can rely in France and Germany. Labour will establish a network of one-stop advice centres providing them with access to high-quality specialist assistance.
We will give special attention to the establishment of small businesses by women, and members of the ethnic minority communities, who often face difficulties raising venture capital.
Under the Conservatives, Britain has moved from manufacturing trade surplus to manufacturing trade deficit. The recent privatisation of the Export Credit Guarantee Department can only do further damage. Labour will create modern export services for the nation and the regions.
We will invest in modern transport
Commuters and companies need fast, safe transport Labour will
act to make sure they get it. It is absurd that French Railways
can raise funds for new investment in the City of London, when
British Rail is not allowed to do so. We will remove these restrictions.
Leasing schemes will allow large-scale investments to be financed
at relatively little
cost to the public sector borrowing requirement.
Private finance will also be mobilised for a high-speed rail network which will eventually link every region to the Channel Tunnel with proper environmental safeguards.
We will improve energy supplies
Families, commerce and industry need heat, light and power at
prices they, can afford. Britain is well placed with reserves
of coal, oil and gas which must be husbanded in a national energy
policy to balance the needs of the present with those of the future.
We will encourage enhanced recovery of oil from the North Sea
and avoid becoming too dependent in on imported fuel. We will
meet our international obligations to reduce harmful chimney emissions.
We will restore public control of the National Grid and give it new duties and powers to ensure the long-term security of electricity supplies. We will secure the long-term future of the coal industry by reducing imports, stopping the 'dash for gas' and reining back on open-casting. We will retain the Department of Energy and move its petroleum engineering directorate to Aberdeen. We will require the energy companies to invest in R&D, and encourage the development of clean-burn coal technology.
We will invest in people at work
The key to a successful modern economy is a well-educated and
motivated workforce. We cannot compete on the basis of low educational
standards or poor working conditions. Britain's future must be
high skill, high wage and high tech.
Two things are needed: a training revolution to modernise people's skills, and rights for employees to fair treatment at work.
We will offer unemployed people a range of employment and training opportunities. Our aim is to ensure that anyone who is unemployed for more than six months has a choice of job experience or training. We will also help the people often left out of good training opportunities, including the disabled, women returning after caring for children, and those with special educational needs.
Expanded childcare will help women return to work and undertake training. A critical task is to upgrade the skills of people in work. Training and Enterprise Councils will be retained, reformed and made more broadly representative of their local communities and given stable budgets.
Instead of the present series of piecemeal initiatives we will establish a coherent national training policy to meet the needs of industry and provide people with real equal opportunities at work. All employers, except for very small businesses, will be obliged to invest a minimum amount on training their workforce or make a contribution to the local or national training effort. Training will be a real partnership between government and industry, not an excuse to shift all the burden onto employers.
We will transform the Careers Service to make careers advice available to everyone, young or old, employed or unemployed.
Britain cannot get the best performance from our employees by giving them the worst treatment. There will be a fair framework of law for both employers and unions. There will be no return to the trade union legislation of the 1970s. Ballots before strikes and for union elections will stay. There will be no mass or flying pickets. But our individual employees are entitled to be treated at least as fairly as their colleagues in Europe.
We will opt in to the Social Chapter of the new European Treaty and introduce employment standards common in successful economies, including the best health and safety legislation. The existing protection provided for people engaged in especially hazardous work will be retained.
Women and men must be able to care for their family as well as earn a living. We will give all employees equal rights and status under the law, whether they are full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary. We aim to guarantee every woman in employment the right to 14 weeks' maternity leave on full pay, and to give fathers paternity leave, bringing Britain into line with the better provision elsewhere in the European Community.
Employees will have new rights to be consulted and informed about decisions which affect them, as well as the right to union membership and representation. We will restore union rights at GCHQ. Anti-discrimination law will be strengthened and we will consider as part of that law outlawing discrimination in employment on the grounds of age.
Britain's Wages Councils set minimum wages for about 2.5 million people. But there is no minimum wage for all employees. We will end the scandal of poverty pay and bring Britain into line with the rest of Europe by introducing a statutory minimum wage of £3.4O an hour. This is a major but long overdue reform which will benefit around four million low-paid people, 80 per cent of whom are women. We will consult widely to ensure smooth implementation.
We will promote a stake for employees
Employees should have the opportunity to own collectively a significant
stake in the company for which they work, through a democratic
Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP) or a co-operative. We will
strengthen support for such schemes and consult about the possibility
of creating a new tax incentive to encourage companies to establish
or extend an ESOP or set up a co-operative.
Recent pension fund scandals have shown how right Labour has been to call for stronger legal protection. We will reform the law so that pension funds belong to their members, not to employers. Half of the pension trustees will be employees, with an independent chairman, and pensioners will be represented.
Labour will stop the privatisation of the NHS and return opted-out hospitals and other services to the local NHS. We will halt the commercial market which is creating a two-tier health service.
Our commitment to the NHS
For a decade, the Conservatives have
persistently underfunded the health service. It may well take
at least the lifetime of a Parliament to put things right, but
Labour will start immediately. Instead of cutting income tax,
we will make additional resources of at least £1 billion
available for investment in the NHS over the next 22 months. Each
year thereafter, we will continue to tackle underfunding. Unlike
the Conservatives, we ill not impose any new health charges.
Labour will recognise the additional claims on the NHS from the growing number of very elderly people and the development of medical technology and knowledge. We will retain the pay review bodies. We will not cheat
health authorities by agreeing pay awards which are not fully funded and leaving managers to bridge the gap by cutting patient care. We will invest in the modernisation of our hospitals and tackle the backlog of repairs and maintenance.
We will also launch a new programme to invest £60 million in the modernisation of Britain's cancer services, using the resources we will save by scrapping the Conservatives' tax handout on private medical insurance. Within our overall budget, we will tackle the shortage of intensive care beds with a special programme providing an additional £25 million to expand this life-saving service.
A healthy Britain
Labour will launch a National Health Initiative to promote physical
and mental health from birth to old age. This initiative will
be led by the Department of Health and Community Care and by a
new Cabinet committee that will cut through departmental boundaries.
We will set new targets to cut the inequalities in health between social classes and ethnic groups. Our Health Initiative will set targets for better health, backed by effective action. We will, for instance:
A modern NHS
We will create a modern, efficient NHS with incentives to improve performance - but without the queue-jumping
and waste created by a market in health care.
We will provide more services through local health centres and other community settings. We will give GPs the power to insist on improvements in service to all the patients in a neighbourhood.
We will give the outcome of treatment the same importance as the throughput of treatment. Our new Health Quality Commission will monitor the quality of care and raise standards.
The continuing care of very elderly and chronically sick patients will be a higher priority. We will halt the reduction in NHS services for long-term care and community health services which support elderly and disabled patients at home
To achieve this change of direction, we will negotiate Performance Agreements with each health authority and back them with an Incentive Fund to reward authorities which perform well. These agreements will set local targets which reflect local priorities, for instance, to cut waiting lists or switch mental health services into the community. Hospital to managers, who will be accountable for meeting their targets, will otherwise be given maximum freedom of decision making.
We will create new community health authorities, representative of local people, which bring together both GP services and hospital care.
A first-class service to patients
In Labour's health service, power will belong to patients, not
accountants. We will restore the right of patients to be treated
in the hospital of their choice. Women will have the right to
be seen by a woman GP and we will encourage the development of
well women clinics. Ethnic minorities will have the right to obtain
the diet required by their religious
We will set four new standards for a better service to:
As part of our commitment to a quality service to patients, we
will end compulsory competitive tendering for hospital support
services, which has driven down standards of cleanliness and catering.
We will invest £25 million from within our overall budget to purchase several hundred more new, fully-equipped ambulances.
A community service
Labour will expand the services which elderly people and their
carers need for long-term support in the community, such as home
helps, care assistants and community services. Our Department
of Health and Community Care, with a new Minister of State for
Community Care, will develop a high-quality programme of community
care which responds to what users want.
We will introduce a new earmarked grant for community care which will support the work of Labour councils in providing care for people at home, and oblige Conservative councils to use the grant to improve those services. We will end the pressure on councils to privatise their residential homes by providing funding for local authorities equivalent to the benefits paid to private homes.
We will insist that the first call on income from the sale of mental health hospitals is the provision of better accommodation and services in the community for mental health users and people with learning disabilities. We will end the neglect that has allowed some former patients to end up sleeping rough and led to others being placed on remand. Labour will ensure that these services are in place before patients who will benefit from life in the community are transferred out of long-term hospital care.
We want every child to get qualifications that count. We need
safe, disciplined schools, where professional teachers work closely
with parents. Learning must become a lifetime opportunity, with
new chances to update skills at work.
That is our vision of a well-educated Britain.
But, under the Conservatives, Britain today invests a smaller share of our national wealth in education than in 1979. More and more parents are now being forced to pay for essentials in a system which should be free.
Labour will modernise Britain's schools. Over the next 22 months, additional resources of at least £600 million will be made available for investment in education. We will then continue steadily to increase the share of Britain's national wealth invested in education.
We will offer nursery education to three and four year olds
By the end of the decade, all three and four year o1ds will have
the opportunity of nursery education if their parents so wish.
Within six months, every local education authority will have to set targets for steadily increasing nursery and childcare services. Childhood Partnerships between councils, parents, schools, local businesses and community groups will help extend a wide range of childcare and nursery education services.
The immediate investment in childcare described earlier (see page 10) is only the beginning. Our Ministry for Women will have central role in helping to develop a nationwide childcare strategy, including out-of-school and holiday provision as well as care for younger children.
We will raise standards in our schools
By investing in better teaching, smaller classes and modern books
and equipment we will raise education standards.
Teachers will be guaranteed a proper salary and career structure. A General Teaching Council for England and Wales will help them achieve the highest professional standards. Higher quality training will be followed by proper support for newly-qualified teachers. A national in-service training programme will ensure that all teachers are fully qualified in the subject they are teaching.
Within 12 months, we will end the scandal of primary school classes of over 40 children. We will then establish and steadily reduce maximum limits on class sizes, until no primary school child is taught in a class of more than 30.
To make sure that children are reading by the age of seven, we will create a national Reading Standards Programme, with a national Reading Recovery Programme to help those in difficult. £20 million will be invested in reading recovery in the first year. National tests must provide the information needed to help pupils, and to judge schools' effectiveness, without wasting good teaching time. Children with special needs or special abilities will receive the extra attention they deserve.
Nine out of ten secondary school children are in comprehensive schools. We will end selection at 11 where it still exists. We will introduce a fairer system for all school reorganisations, with independent public enquiries. We will phase out the Assisted Places scheme (without affecting pupils currently on a place, or offered one from September 1992) and redirect the savings to meet wider educational needs.
Because the national curriculum cannot be properly taught without new textbooks, we will earmark funds for class and library books. Every child needs a good grounding in science and technology. We will introduce a programme to improve equipment and laboratories. We will start to tackle the backlog of school repairs. For instance, we will invest £30 million to ensure that within 12 months, no child has to use an outside lavatory.
Conservative plans to privatise the schools' inspectorate will
be scrapped Our Education Standards Commission, together with
her Majesty's Inspectors, will monitor the performance of every
school. If a school is under-performing, the commission, which will be answerable to
Parliament, will have the powers to ensure that it is brought
up to standard.
National Awards, similar to the Queen's Award for Industry, will encourage excellence in schools. We will reform the Conservatives' scheme for the local management of schools. All schools will be free to manage their day-to-day budgets, with local education authorities given a new strategic role. Opted-out schools will be freed from central government control and brought together with City Technology Colleges into the mainstream of the local school system.
New rights for parents
We will reform the Conservatives' scheme for the local management of schools All schools will be free to manage their day-to-day budgets, with local education authorities given a new strategic role. Opted-out schools will be freed from central government control and brought together with City Technology Colleges into the mainstream of the local school system.
Home-school contracts will tell parents exactly what the school undertakes to deliver and what their responsibilities are. If they are dissatisfied with the school or education authority, they will be able to call in the Education Standards Commission and get action taken.
We wish to see the key role of church and other voluntary-aided schools secured and available equally and on the same criteria to all religions.
We will modernise the curriculum
Labour will modernise the national curriculum and apply it in all schools. From the age of 14, pupils will study five essential subjects. English, mathematics, science, a modern language and technology. In schools teaching in Welsh, the study of Welsh will be included. Every pupil will also be offered a wide range of academic, technical and other options.
Taking account of the views of parents, enployers, teachers, pupils
and the commendations of the Higginson Report, we will establish
a five-subject A level and bring it together with technical qualifications
into our new Advanced Certificate. Open to art-time and full-time
students of any age, it will include 'credits' which can be transferred
between different institutions. We will consult widely about the
detailed structure of this new qualification, and finalise proposals
Young people must have real opportunities to widen their experience and skills. Sixteen year olds not in full-time education will be entitled to a new traineeship lasting for up to two years, with an option of a further two years. Every young person in employment will be guaranteed the right to Learn While You Earn.
Labour's education targets
We have set ourselves four education targets. They are the basis
for our strategy and the benchmark against which progress will
First, a nursery education for all three and four year olds whose parents wish by the year 2000.
Second, within five years, we want four out of five 16 to 18 year olds to be able to achieve at least five GCSEs at grades A, B or C, or their equivalent.
Third, by the end of the decade, we want half of Britain's 16 to 19 year olds to be able to qualify at the new Advanced Certificate levels or the equivalent in BTEC and other post-16 opportunities for study.
Fourth, within 20 years, we will double the number of students in higher education, with at least one in three young adults participating by the year 2000.
The student loan scheme deters many bright youngsters from poor families. We will replace it with a fairer system of student grants and targeted help for housing and vacation hardship. We will take effective steps to safeguard standards throughout higher education.
We will stop the Conservatives' adult education cuts and encourage local authorities to develop adult and community education and access courses, particularly for mature students. People over 50 who missed earlier opportunities will be able to apply for a 'Return to Learn' grant towards further or higher education.
We will make families better off
As we explained earlier (see page 12), we will increase child
benefit for seven million families. Higher pensions and related
benefits will benefit another 12 million people. We will reform
the tax and national insurance system, and take 740,000 low-paid
people out of tax. After the first year's extra increases we will
restore the link between increases in the basic pension and prices
or earnings, whichever is higher.
Britain's national insurance system is far more efficient than private insurance. We will open it up to new groups such as low-paid and part-time workers.
Labour will end the Conservatives' freeze on benefits for widowed mothers and other lone parents. We will encourage parents on income support to claim maintenance by allowing them to keep part of it before benefit is cut.
We will restore nutritional guidelines for
school meals and reverse the cuts in free school meals as soon as possible.
We will reform benefits for people with disabilities and make it easier for those available for work to take employment. As resources allow, we will improve and extend invalid care allowance.
Labour will develop a flexible decade of retirement between the ages of 60 and 70, 50 that men and women can choose to retire on a full pension or continue in work without discrimination.
Our new National Pensions Plan, building on the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme, will offer people now in work a pension based on their 20 best years' earnings. Those who are self-employed will also be able to join. Occupational and personal pension schemes will have to guarantee a minimum pension before they can contract out, and guarantee equal treatment for men and women.
We will reform means-tested benefits, replace the Social Fund, and restore benefit rights to 16 and 17 year olds as soon as possible. To relieve anxiety about funeral costs, we will introduce a funeral payment of £600, available on request. The costs will in most cases be recovered from the deceased's estate, although small estates will be disregarded.
We will abolish the poll tax
Labour will abolish the poll tax immediately. We will replace
it with our Fair Rates system, related to people's ability to
pay. We reject the Conservatives' unfair banding and discount
system, which would create a property poll tax. We will modernise
the valuation system to ensure that properties are fairly assessed.
Abolition of the minimum 20 per cent contribution - which will be of particular help to young people - will be followed by an improved rebate system, with special help to retired people on low incomes living alone.
Business rates will become a local tax again, with rate rebates for small firms.
People need decent homes
Labour will establish mortgage rescue schemes throughout the country,
home buyers to remain as tenants or part-owners. Mortgage interest tax relief will continue at the present rate. We will seek new arrangements to enable first-time buyers to concentrate relief in the early years. Housing log books and an end to gazumping will also help home buyers. We will also ensure that home-buyers receive proper advice about the potential cost of their mortgages in future years.
Councils and housing associations will be allowed to lease or buy empty homes in order to provide accommodation for homeless people. Homes left empty without good r reason by any public authority will be e transferred to a better social landlord.
We will restore housing benefit to people under 18 and provide more refuges for women escaping domestic violence.
Labour will keep the right to buy. We will increase the number of homes for rent by establishing a Housing Bank to facilitate the balanced use of councils' capital receipts and offer investment capital at attractive rates of interest. Tenants will be offered the option to 'part rent, part buy'. Steps will be taken to improve sub-standard housing.
Council tenants will be guaranteed real rights over their homes. Councils will set rents at a reasonable level, reflecting income levels in the different regions and localities. We will eliminate racial discrimination in housing allocation and improve safety on estates.
In the private sector there is a need both for homes at market rents and those where rents are regulated and housing benefit payable. We will consult fully before introducing reforms and will not legislate retrospectively.
All tenants must be protected against noise, nuisance; harassment and shoddy service.
Leaseholders will have new rights, either to extend their lease, or collectively buy the freehold of their property from non-resident freeholders.
We will protect people against crime
Crime in Britain has more than doubled since
1979. Over five million crimes were recorded
last year, but the real total is certainly
Labour will insist that local councils work with the police to improve crime prevention by
Elected police authorities will use the extra resources available for the war against crime to ensure that more police officers are visible on the beat, backed up by the modern technology which is essential to crime prevention and detection.
We will implement the recommendations of he Woolf Report to improve prison conditions. Prison must offer training for employment, not for crime. We will promote ion-custodial sentences for non-violent rimes and take steps to eradicate the discrimination in sentencing policy which particularly affects women and ethnic minority offenders
People have a right to first-class services
We will develop customer contracts for local services, along the
lines pioneered by Labour authorities. Local communities will
help design services to meet their needs, with voluntary groups
playing a key role in delivering services.
Our new Quality Commission, incorporating the work of the Audit Commission, will ensure councils provide high-quality, value-for-money services, with clear avenues for complaint and redress. We will not tolerate shoddy service, inefficiency or waste. Councils will have to carry out an annual survey of customer satisfaction, published just before local elections.
The contracts of chief officers will be linked to quality targets, with senior managers quired to sample the service they provide. Compulsory competitive tendering will be abolished, but the Quality Commission will have the power, where services have broken own, to insist that they are put out to tender, with contractors required to meet conditions such as quality thresholds and fair employment.
Local planning must reflect what people, not developers, want. The Conservatives' bonfire of planning controls has led to ill-thought out development, often against the wishes of local people. Labour will give people more say in drawing up plans for their area and create a new right of appeal for residents against developments which fly in the face of their local plan. Beneficial development will be speeded up, damaging development checked and the green belt safeguarded. We will reverse the present planning presumption in favour of opencast coal mining and give top priority to local people and their environment.
Councils must be accountable to local people
We shall introduce annual elections in England and Wales, with
one third of councillors elected each year. Councillors must get
proper support, to ensure that they are drawn from all parts of
the community and are not financially disadvantaged.
Labour will sign the European Charter of Local Self Government and give local councils a general power of competence, in line with other European countries, so that councils can develop new and imaginative services.
We will reform the system for allocating grants to local councils and introduce less centralised rules on capital spending, enabling councils to make prudent long-term investment.
We will support arts and leisure
Building on the example of many Labour councils which have developed
imaginative arts initiatives, we will make the arts a statutory
responsibility for local authorities. Labour's Ministry for the
Arts and Media will encourage Britain's arts and their associated
industries, including broadcasting and the press, to develop new
ideas and attract more
people. Government will commission the best designers, artists and architects, for instance, to help communities transform run-down city centres.
We will renew the BBC's Charter in a way a which guarantees continuation of high-quality public service broadcasting - available in all parts of the country and covering a wide spectrum of programmes. The licence fee remains the best way of financing the BBC and preserving its independence. A concessionary fee will be introduced for all pensioners.
As people have more leisure, they also need better facilities for sport. We will encourage councils to invest in modern, well-staffed sports centres for the enjoyment of people of all ages and abilities, and give mandatory rate relief to voluntary sports clubs.
New facilities and better backing for people with outstanding talent will help put Britain back on the international sporting map. We will review sports taxation, reform the Sports Councils and make football grounds safe for spectators. We will stop the wanton sale of school playing fields and ensure that sport takes its proper place within the curriculum.
We will protect consumers
Our Consumers' Charter will cover all goods and services. It will include:
We will create a cleaner, safer environment
The greatest challenge we face is the responsibility to ensure
the survival of the planet.
Economic progress goes hand in hand with environmental responsibility. Labour will embrace the goal of sustainable development, with environmental modernisation an integral part of our industrial strategy.
Labour's Prime Minister will go to the Earth Summit in June, with a commitment to stabilising emissions of CO2 (the main source of global warming) at their 1990 levels by the end of the decade and a recognition that significant cuts will be needed in the early years of the new century. We will adopt the tightest possible timetable for eliminating CFCs and other chemicals which deplete the ozone layer.
Our tough pollution standards, based on the health and safety of children, will be enforced by an independent Environmental Protection Executive. We will develop a national waste strategy promoting waste minimisation, re-use and recycling. Business will be encouraged to have environmental audits. The trade in toxic waste will be banned.
We will establish a new legal right to a clean environment, ensure environmental freedom of information, implement European environmental standards such as Environmental Impact Assessment and promote a European Environmental Charter. Every government policy will be subjected to environmental appraisal, co-ordinated by a Cabinet Minister for Environmental Protection. An annual Green Book assessing the environmental impact of government economic policy will accompany the traditional financial Red Book.
Improving inner cities
We will reverse the unfair treatment which has meant that the
inner cities have lost out in terms of local government finance,
housing investment and support for employment. Labour will pull
together the present unco-ordinated initiatives into a coherent
urban programme which will strengthen local economies, generate
jobs and improve the quality of people's lives.
We will encourage local councils to create enterprise partnerships with employers, trade unions and the community, which will mobilise the commitment and the enthusiasm of local people. The composition and terms of reference of urban development corporations will be changed immediately and they will in due course be wound up in an orderly way.
At the local level, we will tackle litter and graffiti and start to transform inner city environments by establishing neighbourhood action areas where local communities can develop their own plans for regenerating the area.
Clean water, healthy food
We will ensure that our drinking water, beaches and rivers meet
the highest European standards and end the dumping of industrial
waste at sea. The provision of water is so fundamental that it
is a priority for return to public control. In the meantime, we
will protect consumers against high prices and poor service and
give greater priority to environmental problems.
Labour's independent Food Standards Agency will ensure high food quality standards. Our Department of Food and Farming will offer British farmers and consumers a better deal. Subsidies for production will gradually be replaced with green premium payments to promote environmentally sound management of the countryside.
We will invest in decent public transport
We will transform transport policy by ensuring, for the first
time, that all road railway, aviation, shipping and inland
waterways projects are judged on the basis of their environmental,
social and economic impact. Within six months we will review the
roads programme and mobilise private capital for large-scale public
All major transport projects will be subject to Environment Impact Assessment and we will fullly observe the requirements of the European Directive on EIAs. Road building proposals for sensitive areas such as Oxleas Wood and Twyford Down must be subject to full environmental assessment.
We reject Conservative plans to privatise British Rail. Instead, we will modernise, setting clear performance targets to improve the quality of service and shift more freight from road to rail.
We will tackle the problem of congestion and environmental damage by enabling local authorities to provide better quality transport. We will end the deregulation of buses, introduce bus priority measures integrated with new rapid transit systems within a 'green light' programme designed to encourage people to transfer to public transport. Proper concessionary fare schemes will be developed in every area. Traffic management schemes to cut unnecessary car use and better facilities for cyclists and pedestrians will make town centres safer and more attractive.
We will reform transport taxation in order to encourage smaller, cleaner cars and the use of catalytic converters. The subsidy to company cars will be phased out.
In London and the south-east, congestion costs the economy over £10 billion a year. We will stop bus deregulation and privatisation of London Transport and promote efficient public transport.
We will seek to reverse the unacceptable decline in Britain's merchant navy and encourage the greater use of British-owned and crewed vessels, adding to Britain's security and reducing the cost to our balance of payments.
All transport services will be required to meet high standards of service and safety, with effective avenues for complaint and compensation where appropriate. We will establish a new independent transport safety inspectorate within the health and safety legislation to improve the safety environment which has led to the terrible tragedies of recent years. Increased security measures and better staffing will be particularly welcome to women, elderly and disabled people.
Labour will give top priority to energy saving rather than energy
sales. We will set up an Energy Efficiency Agency and a Renewable
Energy Agency. We will require the gas and electricity companies
to invest in insulation and other energy-saving measures.
We will not invest in new nuclear power stations, continue with those in the planning process or extend the lives of existing nuclear stations beyond their safe life span. Britain's dependence on nuclear power will therefore steadily diminish. We will use the most modern technology to deal with the problems of decommissioning and nuclear waste.
A beffer life in the country
We will expand affordable housing in rural areas, develop countryside
colleges to meet wider training needs and invest in workshops
and small business units. We will support rural schools and improve
public transport. The work of the Rural Development Commission
and the Development Board for Rural Wales will be boosted.
The ecological richness of our countryside must be protected. We will give people a new right of access to open country, create new national parks and step up protection for special sites. We will consult widely on the best way forward for nature conservation and countryside bodies, including independent boards for all national parks. We will safeguard Britain's rivers and canals and improve leisure facilities. Anglers will benefit from and contribute to our plans for improved river quality.
We will protect animals
We will reduce cruelty to animals within Britain and Europe. We
will ban the testing of beauty aids on animals, outlaw fur farming
and ensure better treatment of farm animals and animals in transit.
Our national dog registration scheme will provide the money for
a warden service.
As part of our programme to outlaw cruelty wild mammals, we will allow a free vote in the House of Commons on a proposal to ban the hunting of live quarry with hounds and, if it is passed, provide parliamentary time for the necessary legislation. There will be no new limitations on the country sports of angling or shooting.
Our Charter of Rights, backed up by a complementary and democratically
enforced bill of rights, will establish in law the specific rights
of every citizen.
We will start in our first parliamentary session with a Freedom of Information Act which will open up government to the people. Exceptions will be tightly drawn.
We will give power to the nations and regions
We will move immediately to establish an elected Scottish Parliament.
It will have powers to legislate for and administer Scotland's
domestic affairs and modernise Scotland's economy and the ability
to represent Scotland within the United Kingdom and Europe.
Labour's legislation will be firmly based on the proposals agreed in the Scottish Constitutional Convention. The Parliament will be elected on an Additional Member System. It will be responsible for local government, health, housing, education, transport, environmental and other policies within Scotland.
In our first year, we will introduce a new Welsh Language Act. We will establish, in the lifetime of a full Parliament, an elected Welsh Assembly in Cardiff with powers and functions which reflect the existing administrative structure. Local government in Wales will be reformed to create between 25 and 30 'most purpose' authorities.
A regional tier of government in the English regions will take over many powers now exercised nationally, such as regional economic planning and transport. These new administrations will later form the basis for elected regional governments. To simplify local government in England, we will establish 'most purpose' authorities generally
based on district councils. In some areas, a county-wide authority or the amalgamation of districts may be more appropriate. We will consult widely before finalising proposals.
London is now the only European capital without the advantage of its own elected authority. Labour will give Londoners the right to elect a new Greater London Authority responsible for making London a better place to live and work.
We will safeguard press freedom
We will remove unjustified restrictions on broadcasting and establish
an urgent enquiry by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission into
the concentration of media ownership. If the press fail to deal
with abuses of individual privacy, we will implement the Calcutt Report's recommendations
for statutory protection.
Individuals must be able to control personal information about themselves. We will strengthen Britain's Data Protection Act in line with European practice. The security services will be brought under the scrutiny of a Parliamentary Select Committee.
We will see that justice is done
There is widespread concern about the miscarriages of justice
which have imprisoned innocent people. As part of our sweeping
programme of law reform, we will establish an additional appeals
tribunal, including lay members as well as lawyers, to examine
the most contentious convictions. The Police and Criminal Evidence
Act will be reformed.
Convictions will no longer be possible on uncorroborated confession evidence.
We will improve access to legal aid and, when resources allow, extend it to tribunal hearings. We will encourage the expansion of voluntary advice centres and invest in better support for victims. We will appoint from the House of Commons a Minister for Legal Administration, who will initially be part of the Lord Chancellor's Department. We will go on to create a Department of Legal Administration headed by a Minister in the Commons who will be responsible for all courts and tribunals in England and Wales. Future reform of the distinctive Scottish legal system will be the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament.
We will work with the legal profession to open up new opportunities to women and to black and ethnic minority groups, and create an independent judicial appointments commission. A Sentencing Council will bring some consistency into what is now often a haphazard process. A Court Inspectorate will improve the efficiency of our often outdated judicial system.
We will offer everyone a the fair chance
Stronger sex and race discrimination laws will ensure that organisations
awarded government contracts take positive steps to promote equal
treatment. We will introduce a new law dealing with discrimination
on grounds of sexuality, repeal the unjust Clause 28 and allow
a free vote in the House of Commons on the age of consent.
In order to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities, we will appoint a Minister for the Disabled and extend anti-discrimination laws to cover this group.
We will establish a Children's Minister within the Home Office to co-ordinate policies for children across departments. One independent Children's Commissioner will promote the interests of all children. Protecting children will be high on the agenda, as will the full implementation of the Children Act and the UN Convention to promote childrens rights.
Labour's Ministry for Women
Following the successful example of France, Germany and many other
countries, Labour will appoint a Cabinet Minister for Women. She
will ensure that women's voices are heard at the highest level.
She will monitor the work
of all other departments and co-ordinate action for equal opportunities
The Ministry will also initiate legislation for women. In particular, we will introduce a new Sex Equality Act which will combine and strengthen the current equal pay and sex discrimination laws.
The Ministry for Women will have special responsibility for co-ordinating childcare policy, improving women's safety and encouraging more women to participate in public life.
The black and ethnic minority communities
We are determined to ensure that women and men from ethnic minority
groups are full and equal members of the community.
As well as strengthening the race discrimination laws and extending the powers of the Commission for Racial Equality, we will press for similar laws throughout the European Community. We will not tolerate the present level of racial harassment and attacks, and will ensure that more effective protection is given to vulnerable groups. Contract compliance laws will be the first step towards guaranteeing the black and Asian British their fair share of jobs.
Fair citizenship law
We will introduce fair immigration and citizenship laws which
restore the right to British citizenship for every child born
in Britain. Our laws, which will not discriminate on grounds of
sex or race, will respect the right to family life. A new Act
will guarantee sanctuary to genuine refugees but prevent bogus
applications for asylum.
We are determined to see that equally fair laws apply throughout the European Community and will oppose any attempt to remove voting rights from Commonwealth citizens in European elections.
Labour will continue the present talks on Northern Ireland. In
the long term, we want to see a united Ireland achieved by consensus
and without violence. We support the commitment in the Anglo-Irish
Agreement that 'any change in the status of Northern reland would
only come about with the consent of a majority in Northern Ireland'.
We will work within the agreement to achieve our policy of unity
by consent, and strengthen measures against injustice, discrimination
We will fight terrorism by every lawful means, repealing the counter-productive Prevention of Terrorism Act and replacing it with measure which is more effective and genuinely acceptable in a democratic society.
A modern Parliament
Westminster must become more effective in protecting citizens
and holding government to account. We will therefore improve the
procedures and facilities of the House of Commons, strengthen
scrutiny of EC legislation, and end ministerial misuse of the
We will give shareholders the right to vote upon all political donations made by public companies, require donations to political parties to be declared in a public register, require the accounts of political parties to be published and, as recommended by the Houghton Report, introduce state aid for political parties.
Further constitutional reforms will include those leading to the replacement of the House of Lords with a new elected Second Chamber which will have the power to delay, for the lifetime of a Parliament, change to designated legislation reducing individual or constitutional rights.
We will continue to encourage a wide and well-informed public debate on the electoral system. The working party on electoral systems which we established in opposition under the distinguished chairmanship of Professor Raymond Plant will continue its work with an extended membership and enhanced authority and report to the next Labour government.
This general election was called only after months of on-again, off-again dithering which damaged our economy and weakened our democracy. No government with a majority should be allowed to put the interests of party above country as the Conservatives have done. Although an early election will sometimes be necessary, we will introduce as a general rule a fixed parliamentary term.
It's a new chance to enhance peace in the world
Labour, which in opposition joined our NATO allies in rejecting
the Conservative government's cold war nostalgia, will in government
partner the United States in negotiating to reduce the world's
stocks of nuclear weapons. We shall seek to involve the four former
Soviet nuclear republics, together with France and China. Until
elimination of those stocks is achieved, Labour will retain Britain's
nuclear capability, with the number of warheads no greater than
the present total.
With the increase in major nuclear powers from five to eight, proliferation is a dangerous reality and may become an even greater threat to peace and stability. The Tory government contributed to proliferation when it permitted the supply of nuclear weapons material to Saddam Hussein. The Labour government will work in the United Nations for a strengthened nuclear non-proliferation treaty, backed by meaningful sanctions and by a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. We will in addition work for a global ban on chemical and biological weapons and stronger controls to prevent proliferation of ballistic missiles. Meanwhile, we will join Russia in ending nuclear tests.
We will actively support the peace-making role of the UN - for example, in Cambodia and Somalia - and work for a permanent United Nations peace-keeping force.
It's a new chance to solve long-running disputes
The Labour government will work in the United Nations and the
European Community to enhance peace prospects in the Middle East.
Our aims are security for Israel and self-determination for the
Palestinians. There must be strict control on arms sales to the
Labour will work in the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the European Community and NATO to help bring about the peaceful reunification of Cyprus, on the federal basis advocated by the sovereign government of Cyprus. The Labour government will make itself available to our friends in India and Pakistan to assist in achieving a negotiated solution to the problem of Kashmir that is acceptable to all the people of Kashmir - Moslems, Hindus and Buddhists.
We will, as a matter of urgency, discuss with Hong Kong's representatives what measures may best enhance democracy and confidence during Britain's five remaining years of responsibility for the colony.
It's a new chance to provide genuine security for Britain
As the party which took Britain into NATO, Labour will base its
defence policies on UK membership of the alliance. We will provide
whatever resources are needed for effective defence for our country,
providing the necessary level of forces with the appropriate equipment
Unlike the Tories, we recognise that disarmament negotiations and technological change can bring about problems for our defence industries. Nearly 100,000 lobs have already been lost during the past two years and 123,000 more are in danger.
Selling more arms to poor countries is not an acceptable or effective way of maintaining Britain's defence industries. We will stop sales to countries which might use them for internal repression or international aggression.
The Labour government will set up a Defence Diversification Agency to assist workers, communities and companies affected by change. The agency will ensure that resources made available by reductions in defence spending - reductions already planned by the Conservative government - are used in the first instance for rebuilding and
investing in our manufacturing base. From the fruits of this investment can stem finance for health and the social services.
It's a new chance for a new Europe
The Labour government will promote Britain out of the European
second division into which our country has been relegated by the
Tories. Our first chance will be the United Kingdom's six-months'
presidency of the Community, starting on 1 July. We shall use
that presidency to end the Tories' opt-out from the Social Chapter,
so that the British
people can benefit from European safeguards. We will also use our presidency to help ensure that poorer countries are not disadvantaged as a result of the Single Market.
We shall play an active part in negotiations on Economic and Monetary Union. We shall fight for Britain's interests, working for Europe-wide policies to fight unemployment and to enhance regional and structural industrial policy. The elected finance ministers of the different countries must become the effective political counterpart to the central bank whose headquarters should be in Britain.
As part of the evolving role of the regions of Europe, we will establish a Scottish representative office in Brussels and seek appropriate representation for the Scottish Parliament in European institutions. We shall seek fundamental changes in the wasteful Common Agricultural Policy. Savings can help finance other Community projects.
We shall make the widening of the Community a priority, and shall advocate speedy admission for Austria, Sweden,
Finland and Cyprus, whose membership applications have been or are about to be lodged. We shall seek to create conditions in which, at the appropriate time, the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe can join the Community.
It's a new chance for human rights
Labour will set up a Human Rights Division in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and require all Britain's diplomatic posts abroad to appoint an officer to monitor human rights. There will be an annual report to Parliament. Decisions on economic aid and arms sales will be linked to human rights records.
It's a new chance to win friends abroad
Labour will end Tory government meddling in the valuable work of the British Council. Within carefully controlled costings, Labour will consider new scope for the BBC World Service, praised by listeners such as Terry Waite and Mikhail Gorbachev, and for the BBC's World Service Television Service.
It's a new chance to fight world hunger and poverty
Under the Tories, Britain's aid budget has been cut to its lowest
ever. The Labour government will aim to meet the United Nations
aid target of 0.7 per cent of GNP within five years - the lifetime
of a full Parliament. Labour will establish a separate Department
of State for International development, whose Minister will be
in the Cabinet.
Tackling poverty will be the top priority of our aid programme. We will make aid more effective, work more closely with non-governmental agencies, put women at the heart of our programme and, in co-ordination with other donors, reduce the share of tied aid. Labour will promote environmentally sustainable development and encourage new approaches to reduce Third World debt. We will restore funding for development education in the UK.
We will promote greater and fairer trade for poor countries, to enable their economies to grow and diversify. UN and European Community action to help the world's poor must become more effective. Labour will take Britain back into UNESCO.
The Labour government will work within the G7 and the European Community to win support for a New Marshall Plan to assist the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe and of the ex-Soviet Union. Instability in those countries, caused by shortages and discontent, could be as great a threat to world peace as the armed communism that has now disappeared.
It's a new chance for Britain in the Commonwealth
The Tories have regarded the Commonwealth as a wearisome obligation. Labour believes that this unique inter-racial and inter-hemispheric organization can play a central role in fighting racism, hunger and human rights violations. We shall play an active part in the Commonwealth and join the South Africa Committee of Foreign Ministers which the Tories have boycotted.
It's a new chance to safeguard the environment
The Tories have been laggardly and reluctant in international
moves to protect our planet's environment. Labour will set the
pace in pressing for international action to safeguard the ozone
layer, to combat acid rain, to tackle the problem of global warming,
to face up to the environmental needs of the poorest people of
the world. We will scrap the Tory government's opt-out on European
Community environmental protection measures and deadlines. Labour
will adamantly oppose any attempts to permit commercial exploitation
of the virgin continent of Antarctica.