Magazine article Public Finance

Prescott Pleads for Unity in Election Run-Up

Magazine article Public Finance

Prescott Pleads for Unity in Election Run-Up

Article excerpt

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott urged Labour councillors to unite behind the party and stop talking and scribbling' in the run-up to the general and county council elections.

In a speech designed to rouse local activists, Prescott warned the Labour Spring Conference that careless talk costs lives'. He said too many activists were voicing their concerns through Conservative-supporting newspapers.

If they' found it [party policy] difficult and needed to get it out', they should at least donate their fees to party funds. 'It would be nice for the Tories to be paying for us, 'he joked.

Despite his humour, Prescott's comments reveal internal fears that some policies, including changes to public sector pensions and council housing, have alienated the party faithful.

He made a conciliatory reference to the row over local authority housing and the government's use of private sector investment. A supposed breakthrough at last year's autumn conference on a fourth option for housing has since come to nothing and prompted anger among some councillors.

'We have been able to bring public and private sectors together in a £16bn investment programme for housing,' he said. …

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