'We won't impoverish dinner ladies and call it efficiency. That's why we'll get rid of compulsory competitive tendering,' he said, in a short, Tory-bashing speech at last week's Labour conference in Brighton.
It earned a standing ovation from many delegates after finishing with an attack on the government's handling of the arms to Iraq scandal.
He accused the Tories of passing more than 200 acts of Parliament centralising power, and said that 'in our new policy document, Rebuilding democracy, rebuilding communities, we commit ourselves to returning power and influence to local people. For the first time in the 20th century a party commits itself to decentralising power.'
During the debate on local government, GMB national secretary Mick Graham warned: 'There are some in our party who have got used to CCT and used it as a substitute for their own failings. Our members will not pay the price for local mismanagement.'
- Labour delegates defeated a motion calling for the outright abolition of grant-maintained school status by 76.4% to 23.6%. The conference agreed the schools would be kept on as 'foundation' schools and not be allowed to select pupils on academic or social grounds.