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BLUEPRINT BACKS UP BLAIR'S POLICY PLEDGE

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Labour is to unveil a national blueprint for how its councils should implement the party's election manifesto pledg...
Labour is to unveil a national blueprint for how its councils should implement the party's election manifesto pledges.

This is the first time a national party has mapped out such a comprehensive strategy for its councils. It demonstrates how anxious Labour is to ensure it meets its promises by the next general election.

The blueprint, Pledges into action, will be launched next Tuesday by deputy prime minister John Prescott during Labour's annual conference in Brighton.

The 60-page guide will explain how councils should help cut class sizes, get young people into work, cut youth crime, shorten hospital waiting lists and restrain public spending.

'Turning Labour's election pledges into reality requires action at a local level across the country. It is Labour councillors, with their experience in finding local solutions to the problems of education, youth unemployment, health and crime, who will make the difference,' says the report, written by the Association of Labour Councillors. A copy will be sent to every Labour council member.

Party officers see the document as a way of encouraging councils to implement the pledge prime minister Tony Blair will make in his keynote speech next week to transform Britain.

'We are stressing how big the task is, and are encouraging councils to start planning now for how this should be implemented,' said Abigail Melville, head of the party's local government unit. 'This will require a massive change.'

Steve Bullock, officer for the Local Government Association's Labour group, said the paper was not a central diktat.

'It is simply a reflection that many of our councils have been champing at the bit to play their role in delivering the promises which won us the election,' he said.

It includes advice on consulting parents to draw up an action plan for improving education standards, developing information systems to monitor school performance, involving private firms in partnerships to get young people into work and implementing a childcare strategy.

In about a year's time Labour's local government unit will assess progress in delivering the election pledges, and is likely to then issue further advice in the light of experience.

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