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Brown says the 'C' word

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Prime minister Gordon Brown has said what everyone else in the country has known for months - that the government, whether Labour, Tory or LibDem, will have to cut spending in order to sort out the country's massive debt pile.

The Westminster village has alive with speculation over what programmes Brown's team would put to the sword, with the ID card scheme thought to be high on the list.

Speaking to the TUC today Brown said: "Labour will cut costs, cut inefficiencies, cut unnecessary programmes and cut lower priority budgets. But when our plans are published in the coming months people will see that Labour will not support cuts in the vital front line services on which people depend."

There was precious little in the speech apart from those vague words. There were attacks on the Tories' supposed policies and repeats of previously announced policies on public sector apprentices and council house building.

Referring to last year's problems Brown said: "Many of you will remember that it was around this time last year that a financial crisis was rolling over the Atlantic towards us." Many observers would say the crisis began before the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

The PM claimed that "as a result of taking action I can tell you over 200,000 businesses employing hundreds of thousands of people have been able to keep people in work". He promised £5bn in spending on jobs.

He said the government would move in the next parliament to provide equal treatment for temporary staff and agency workers - as required by European Union law.

Brown said he wanted a new industrial policy "to signal the creation of 1.5 million new jobs for the future - jobs in green industries, in making the low carbon cars that Britain is leading Europe in developing, in new digital services".

The full speech is here. ®

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