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Labour sketches new vision for public services

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Labour would seek to reshape public services around a commitment that those who receive support are obliged to give something back, the shadow cabinet minister has said.

Speaking at the Labour conference in Liverpool, Tessa Jowell said that a future Labour government would aim to reshape the welfare state around a “something for something” deal that placed equal emphasis on rights and duties.

In a bid to illustrate how these principles might work, Ms Jowell noted the work of Lambeth LBC’s “cooperative council” model in rewarding residents who give their time with credits for council tax, discounts for council services, or time in the gym.

She added that Labour should also learn from a community hospital in LeHigh “where when you are discharged you’re told someone will come to visit you, turn on your heating and make sure you’ve got food in the fridge”.

“But that person is not a professional. They’re a former patient. And when you get better you’re asked to do the same for someone else,” she said.

“We will ask more people who use public services to give something back in return. A government that offers more for those that help, making sure that those who contribute are the most rewarded in return,” she said.

Ms Jowell also called for an expansion of the use of personal budgets in public services, “putting power in people’s hands but more responsibility too”.

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