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'I am confident that the local elections on 2 May will show that people are placing their trust in new Labour,' Ton...
'I am confident that the local elections on 2 May will show that people are placing their trust in new Labour,' Tony Blair said at the launch of his party's campaign this morning.

'In recent years Labour have won more council seats than ever before and are now trusted to run more councils than ever before - 200 compared to 14 for the Conservatives. That trust has been repaid by the delivery of efficient high quality services, value for money and a partnership approach based on public and private sectors working together for the common good.

'In many parts of the country new Britain is already being built.

'Labour Kirklees put together a partnership with the private sector to build the award winning McAlpine stadium, creating a tremendous sporting facility for the people of Huddersfield

'Labour York, in what was hailed as a 'ground breaking' scheme, helped transform the rundown Bell Farm estate by working in partnership with the tenants who live in the area.

'Labour North Tyneside has developed a pioneering programme of childcare which is winning contracts as far afield as Brent.

'Labour Birmingham is in the forefront of innovation and excellence in education. Baseline assessments of all school children track progress. The Children's University provides extra learning opportunities in primary pupils' free time while the University of the First Age is geared to stop the fall-off of interest which can happen among teenage students.

'Labour Nottingham has been introducing setting to enable children to work at their own level and home-school partnerships to involve parents more closely in their children's education.

'And Labour Staffordshire has launched a three year programme focussed on 50 schools to enhance teaching for 5-7 year olds, set targets for improvement, share good practice with other schools and monitor and assess progress.

'These are just a few examples. There are other areas of Labour excellence all over the country.

'Compare these innovations and this emphasis on standards with the shambles of Tory education policy this week. Yesterday it was reported that the number of people applying to become teachers has fallen 12% in the past year and that within a decade schools will face massive teacher shortages if the trend is not reversed.

'Tomorrow David Blunkett will expose the failure of the government's nursery voucher scheme. Meanwhile Anatole Kaletsky says in The Times that 'Labour's genuine passion for education is not in doubt'.

'On 2 May we will ask the people to place their trust in us so we can continue to improve education at a local level - and continue to create new Britain so that at the next election we can ask the people to place their trust in us to run the country.

'Of course the local elections are also about local taxes. In this as in other areas, the Tories hit you where it hurts. They try to blame all increases on local councils. What they will not broadcast is that the chief secretary to the treasury has admitted that the government were assuming an 8% rise in their spending plans for this year - the real increase has turned out to be less.

'Nor will they broadcast that top civil servant Mr Paul Brittan said that 'ministers want to increase the proportion of council tax spending from 21 to 26 per cent by 1998/99 .... the downside is that your taxes go up quite sharply'.

'Published Tory budget plans show that they plan to force local tax bills up way beyond inflation next year and the year after that. it is a con trick which we will expose in this campaign. On taxation the Tories are giving with one hand and taking with the other. But the people have been to scarred by Tory twisting and turning to trust them on tax again - or trust them with running the country again.

'They do not trust them when they claim huge numbers of jobs are being created by their policies. Nine million people have tasted unemployment since 1992 and as the director general of the CBI said yesterday. 'job insecurity is undermining economic prosperity'. So much for Ian Lang's view that it is a state of mind.

'They cannot be trusted to meet their commitments to draw up measures to tackle poverty. Poverty has spread to all parts of the country. Not only is it a social evil but an economic evil too, costing billions. And Peter Lilley's answer is to say that because three out of four at the bottom end of the income scale have a telephone, poverty is a problem which really only affects the developing world.

'This is a government ever more out of touch, which is why whenever the public get the chance to deliver a verdict they do so loud and clear.

'The local elections are ultimately about trust. That is why we will campaign so hard between now and 2 May for people to look at our record, to look at out policies and to put their trust in new labour.

'Labour success on 2 May will be another blow to this government as it limps on. Labour success will bring forward the day when we can finally rid the country of this tired, discredited government and put in place a government for all the people, with the ideas and the energy to get this country going again.'

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