Gordon Brown - Fighting for your future

Gordon Brown speech in Sunderland


Gordon Brown, Prime Minister and Labour Party Leader, speaking today at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland to launch Labour's culture and creative industries manifesto, said:


"I’m here today, at the National Glass Centre, with Julie, Bridget and Sharon, great Labour candidates, to talk about how we will be fighting for your future – how Labour intends to secure the recovery, and protect and raise your family's living standards.

"But I am also here to talk about Labour’s manifesto for the cultural and creative industries.

"Because I have said before that this is a standards of living election – and I stand by that. But it’s also about standards in living – about the character of our country, and the quality of our lives.

"You might think I talk about things in economic terms, and of course I’m proud that our creative industries now account for ten per cent of Britain's GDP. They earn Britain billions internationally, and bring millions of visitors to Britain e ach year.

"But so much more than that, the arts inspire the best of our potential as human beings. We have a hunger at the deepest levels to be part of something bigger than ourselves – to know that whatever we are feeling, whatever we have been through, somebody has been there before and whispers through the ages that we are not alone.

"Access to literature and art and music and dance is what marks the difference between surviving, and really living – and so this is a progressive priority.

"That’s why free theatre for kids matters.

"Why free museum entry matters.

"Why arts funding matters.

"And why today’s cultural manifesto matters.

"It contains proposals to extend broadband to every part of Britain while tackling online piracy, to begin a new biennial festival of Britain to showcase our nation’s best creative talent, to deliver greater freedom for our museums and galleries, and to support our world-leading film and video games industry.

"And there’s no doubt that exposure to the arts can enrich a child’s education – whether it’s a much-loved book, a song, a nursery rhyme or favourite film, those early cultural experiences can stay with a child forever, fire up an interest that becomes a passion through life, and even inspire them to a creative job when they grow up.

"So to ensure that every child has the chance to explore the wider world through arts, we will ensure that ever child receives a lifetime library membership. And to ensure that every child has ac cess to a range of experiences, we will make sure that every child and young person has access to five hours of arts, music and culture a week inside school and out. And I want from this region and other regions hundreds and then thousands and then hundreds of thousands of modern Billy Elliots to realise their potential to the full.

"Today’s document is part of our wider plan of national renewal for Britain – a manifesto that promises a fairer future for this country we love.

"At the centre of our vision is a strengthened economy, where Britain pays its way through making and doing things, and where our prosperity is both sustained and shared.

"A Britain where active government backs British business with high speed rail, a green investment bank and broadband access for all.

"Where there are one million new skilled jobs so that everyone in our country has the chance of decent pay, promotion and prospects.

"And where manufacturing in our great industrial regions like the North East is supported through Regional Development Agencies, capital allowances and the £950 million Strategic Investment Fund to support the jobs and industries of the future.

"And I see a great future for our country and for the North East if we make the right decisions now in the new industries of the future, the offshore wind, the electric car, the bio-tech, the modern manufacturing, to set up and grow here in Britain.
And where small businesses are helped through the continuation of the Time to Pay scheme, the scheme that has helped 200 thousand businesses defer tax payments and keep people in work.

"Britain’s economic recovery is happening not by accident but by our actions. And our national renewal will not happen by chance but by choice.

"And so I am here to say to all the people of Britain, to every undec ided voter, to every person unsure of whether to turn out, we now have just five days to ensure that 2010 goes down in history, not as the year of Conservative cuts, but as the year of Britain’s recovery.

"For 2010 is the year that will make the difference between whether we have sustained recovery, or whether we fall back into recession. Because the Conservative plans for an emergency budget to make immediate, wide and indiscriminate cuts within just 50 days if they take office on May the 6th – should mean alarm bells ringing for every single user of the health service, everyone who has ever needed the police, every single parent for whom tax credits and the Child Trust Fund are the difference between going on and going under.

"So I have come here, to a region of fighters, to talk about the fight ahead. Not Labour’s fight in this election – but our country’s fight for recovery.

"Because I fight every minute of every day not for my future but the future of Britain’s hard working families.

"And I fight not for my job, but for you to get a better deal in your job – with a rising minimum wage and more flexibility for parents than ever. For your family to get support with tax credits and the Child Trust Fund – and for your family to have access to one million new skilled jobs. I am fighting for the Future Jobs Fund and the summer school leavers guarantee for a place in training, education or a job. And here, in the North East, you need to know that I am fighting for all of Britain to move forward together – with no region, no family, no part of Britain left behind.

"Because let’s never forget that we’ve seen 2 million jobs created since 1997, that Labour’s plans have had perhaps the biggest impact on the North East and that this is the very region first in line for Conservative cuts.

"And people in the North East know that the Liberals will be no protection from the Tory axe – because they have done exactly the same in local government, and have no serious plan for this region’s renewal.

"So while one party is attacking the North East, and one is preparing to abandon the North East, let’s remember Labour’s record for the North East.

"That Labour saved Northern Rock, that Labour helped 9,000 businesses in the North East, that Labour’s Regional Development Agency has safeguarded nearly 18,000 jobs and that Labour is supporting more than 3,000 jobs here with the Future Jobs Fund.

"And so just ask yourself – if we are not there to help the unemployed – who is there? If we’re not there to back businesses – who is there? If we’re not there fighting for the North East – who is there?

"And let me sum up the choice in a way that makes it clear for every hard working family. The Conservatives might claim to be a one nation party, a progressive party, a party of modernisers. But why then, for this great region – are they propo sing to give the most to those who have the most?

"Here in the North East, 290,000 families receive tax credits, and only 400 estates paid inheritance tax – less than anywhere else in the United Kingdom. And yet the Conservatives want to hand an inheritance tax cut to millionaires at the same time as they cut tax credits from families on middle incomes. That’s not real change – that’s more of the same from a party that doesn’t understand this region, doesn’t understand our country, and doesn’t understand the change we need.

"And if people wake up with a Conservative government on May 7th, I’ll tell you the damage to be done.

"A million tax credits cut in June by up to £10 a week.

"The loss of 14,000 teachers and 2,400 police and many more jobs lost.

"For 50,000 young school leavers – no pledge that they will receive training or work.

"For families looking for their children to have a chance to go to university - a Tory ceiling on aspirations, preventing thousands from getting their chance.

"For 200,000 to be helped on the jobs fund – an announcement that the Future Jobs Fund will close.

"And as a result of it an economy that threatens to move from recovery to recession.

"First they targeted families on tax credits, then they targeted teachers and police officers, then they targeted unemployed young people, then they targeted school leavers.

"Soon there will be no family left that hasn’t been targeted.

"The ballot paper may say Labour and Conservative and Liberal Democrat on Thursday – but let me tell you what lies behind those labels, and what else is on the ballot paper too:

 - Giving the police the resources and DNA and CCTV tools they need has been opposed by the Liberal Democrats and Tories but fought for by Labour – and so the future of the police is on the ballot paper

 - The Child Trust Fund and the child tax credit for middle cla ss families have been opposed by the Liberal Democrats and Tories, but fought for by Labour – and so your family finances are on the ballot paper

 - The protection of the schools budget and the investment in the skills of tomorrow has been opposed by the Tories but delivered by Labour – and so your children’s future is on the ballot paper

 - And your right to see a cancer specialist within two weeks of referral has always been opposed by the Tories, but is a guiding star for Labour –and so your family’s future health is on the ballot paper

"I say maintain the recovery don’t put it at risk.

"Maintain employment, don’t give us unemployment again.

"This is what’s at stake on May the 6th.

"Not my prospects but yours.

"And so my message today is simple; it’s your future. Vote for it."