Tony Blair MP, the Labour leader, outlined the party’s new industrial policy in a speech at the British Chamber of Commerce annual conference in Aberdeen on May 12. He set out a seven-point partnership between Government and business and stressed the importance of unlocking human potential through education and training; ideas include extending nursery education, recruiting Associate Teachers from industry and establishing a University for Industry using satellite communications to bring distance learning into companies on the Open University model. Other ideas include public-private partnerships on infrastructure projects, action on long term unemployment and help for small businesses including legislation on late payments. Contact Jack Cunningham MP, Labour Trade and Industry spokesman, on 0171 219 3000
THE FUTURE OF CITIES
In a speech to the Social Market Foundation on April 26, the Prime Minister, John Major MP, spelled out his vision of urban regeneration and the new policies his government is adopting to tackle poverty of opportunity. He too stressed the importance of education and skills to succeed in the jobs market and the need for better incentives for unemployed people. For the future he promised new measures to attract private finance to transform large scale poor quality housing estates. TECs have a critical role in developing skills and qualifications, he said. References to his own upbringing and his record as a Lambeth Councillor subsequently provoked public comment. Contact Conservative Central Office on 0171 222 9000ÿ
As in politics as a whole, so in community affairs: the parties are positioning themselves closer together. There can be no doubt that under Tony Blair, Labour is considering policies intrinsically different to those of a Kinnock or Smith led party. Community affairs managers need to study this new public affairs agenda as a matter of urgency, now that new ideas are possible, and be prepared to comment, so influencing the final outcome.
Blair talks as much about responsibilities as rights. For example, he stresses duties and obligations of parents to their children and anti-social tenants to their neighbours on housing estates. This moral approach can equally easily be applied to companies: corporate social responsibility.
But a Blair government will not return to intervention; rather it will seek to achieve its social objectives by incentivising companies to work in partnership. The implications for employment policy and education and training in particular are immense.
Corporate Citizenship Briefing, issue no: 22 – June, 1995