Helping achieve a 'high and stable level of employment' was one of the major challenges facing Labour in national and local government, he said.
'These are the crucial issues for the Labour government that will be elected to usher in the new millennium. And local authorities, as purchasers and as providers of services, as employers and trainers of our workforces, as catalysts for economic development and regeneration, are absolutely central to out strategy for facing this challenge,' he said.
Mr Prescott stressed the central role of local government in delivering a Labour government's programme: 'Government will be an enabling force, a facilitator. It will be the regions and the local areas who will decide how to meet those objectives.'
He said the party believed in regional government: 'Regional democratic accountability, regional administration and regional economic development are inseparable.
'Regions must be allowed to develop their economic potential.'