» Monday, May 15, 2006

CBI Speech

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists that the Prime Minister would, in his speech to the CBI tomorrow, deliver a strong defence of economic liberalism in a wide-ranging speech, which would say that the modernisation of public services in 21st century was essential. The speech would cover economy, education and skills, the NHS, energy policy, science, pensions, regulation, the WTO and the EU.

"We can either embrace globalisation or be engulfed by it."

"Continual modernisation is the only way public services in the 21st century will survive the constantly rising and changing demands and expectations of the public. The key question facing this Government and every government in the foreseeable future will not be whether to abandon public service reform but just how fast it can be driven as our world changes rapidly around us."

"We have to drive forward with vital education reforms that will equip people with the skills they need; that means more trust schools, more City Academies and higher quality vocational education."

"The changes to the NHS are painful and difficult. But they are nothing compared to the pain of the slow death the NHS would suffer in the 21st century if we left it frozen in time, trying to meet the hopes and fears of people in 2008 with the attitudes and practices of 1948."

"The British economy is still strong, despite all the challenges; still stable, with employment the highest and growth the most sustained since modern records began. We have interest rates on average half the level we inherited, with low inflation and income per head higher now than in France, Germany and Japan. But if we are to make this success story of the last decade the success story of the next century, we must continue to open ourselves to the world and fight to win."

"We have the weapons to win the battle of economic supremacy in the 21st century. We have economic stability, flexible labour markets, the English language a strong science sector. We are at the heart of the EU but a close friend of the US too. As the Olympics showed, the world now sees us as a dynamic nation, confident about the challenges of the future."

Asked if there would be any new announcement on energy policy, the PMOS said no. We had the review and the Prime Minister would be talking about the need to be open minded on the outcome of it and to take onboard the lessons of the review also. Asked if the Prime Minister had been referring to anything in particular when mentioning 2008, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister was referring to the 60th anniversary of the NHS. He was also referring to the fact that people’s expectations were growing all the time.

Asked if journalists were being encouraged to see a tough message to would be critics of the Education Bill in the education passage, the PMOS said that he would be surprised if journalists were surprised by the Prime Minister’s message that he believed that trust schools, City Academies and higher quality vocational education were all necessary, as were good universities, simply because of the challenge of globalisation. That had always been the context in which he had placed the need for higher skills, whether academic or vocational skills. So the context was obvious.

Asked if the Prime Minister would talk about defence in relation to budget cuts, the PMOS asked where these defence cuts were since the defence budget was actually increasing. It was welcomed as increasing, by the then Chief of Defence Staff, as the biggest increase fro a considerable time. The Daily Telegraph had its own agenda, which was not a proper interpretation.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Search for related news

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