Gordon Brown: Labour will legislate to end child poverty by 2020

Prime minister Gordon Brown yesterday vowed to introduce “ground-breaking” legislation to enshrine in law Labour’s pledge to end child poverty.

In his speech to the Labour party conference, Brown acknowledged that economic times were “tough” but said the government was “in it for the long haul” in the complete elimination of child poverty by 2020.

He also promised to continue record investment in Sure Start and introduce free nursery education for two-year-olds in up to 60 areas.

“For me, the fairer future starts with putting children first – with the biggest investment in children this country has ever seen. It means delivering the best possible starts in life with services tailored to the needs of every single precious child,” Brown said.

Social care plans

In a speech whose theme was fairness, Brown said he and health secretary Alan Johnson would also bring forward plans to help people stay longer in their own homes and provide greater protection against the cost of care.

“No-one should live in fear of their old age because they worry their social care will impose financial burdens they could never afford to face and that the minute they need care puts the family home at risk,” he said.

Abolition of drug charges

Brown promised to abolish drug charges for all patients with long-term conditions and paid tribute to Britain’s 5 million carers.

He also pledged reforms to the justice system “to put victims first”, and reiterated the government’s commitment to the welfare reforms recently put forward by work and pensions secretary James Purnell.

Brown attacked the Conservatives, claiming they would slash public service funding and take away Sure Start as “one of the first priorities”.

“They want us to believe that, like us, they now care about public services. But when Mr Cameron actually talks to his party about their spending plans he says the difference between Labour and Tory levels of public investment will be ‘dramatic’ and ‘fundamental’,” the prime minister said.

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