Why Building better future is important

EAST Ham MP Stephen Timms, this week discusses securing Britain s recovery from the global recession, in his exclusive Recorder column. He writes: LAST month the Prime Minister announced to a packed House of Commons a vision for securing Britain s recover

EAST Ham MP Stephen Timms, this week discusses securing Britain's recovery from the global recession, in his exclusive Recorder column.

He writes:

LAST month the Prime Minister announced to a packed House of Commons a vision for securing Britain's recovery from the global recession, under the title Building Britain's Future.

His speech set out clear priorities for Labour in government, and major reforms to restore people's trust in politics. He described it like this:


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"In this plan for Building Britain's Future we are determined to take forward the progressive reforms of the last decade. Our task after three terms in office is not merely to defend Britain's achievements over the last decade but to work even harder so as to meet new challenges with the same sense of conviction."

We are in an unprecedented world-wide recession. People's confidence in financial markets - which did so much to drive economic growth since 1997 - is badly shaken. Trust in politics is at an all time low. It all means Britain is at a cross-roads.

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Building Britain's Future sets out ambitious policies to make the country stronger, fairer and more prosperous. This is not a time to stand back and "do nothing".

It is certainly not the time to "let the recession run its course", as the Conservative party has suggested. More than ever, the Government needs to be supporting people and supporting the economy - so that the recession in Britain will be shorter and shallower than would otherwise be the case.

And Building Britain's Future is buzzing with ideas. Every school leaver this year will be guaranteed a college place or an apprenticeship.

Every young person who has been out of work for a year will be guaranteed a job, training or work experience place, and will be required to take it up. Patients will get enforceable entitlements to high standards of NHS care, including hospital treatment within 18 weeks and access to a cancer specialist within two weeks.

One-to-one catch up tuition will be provided in schools for every pupil who needs it. We want - in time - every teenager to give at least 50 hours to serve their local community. Residents will be able to hold the police to account at monthly beat meetings, and to vote on how offenders pay back the community.

We will ensure universal coverage of broadband by 2012, and aim for a new, high speed broadband network across the country by 2016.

We will build Crossrail, which will link Stratford, Forest Gate, Manor Park and Ilford stations direct to central London and Heathrow. We will invest in renewable energy - with 15 per cent of our energy coming from renewable sources by 2020 - and other low carbon technologies, to make Britain a leader in these fast growing sectors.

We recognise the challenges that lie ahead. People want better. They want strong institutions they can rely on, and they want a responsible and fair society in which talent and hard work are rewarded.

Do get involved. A key part of Building Britain's Future is getting people's responses. The plan can be read on the Government's website, http://www.hmg.gov.uk/buildingbritainsfuture

And regional roadshows will be held in London to discuss the ideas in the plan.

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