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HM Government: Policy Review

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The Prime Minister speaking after a meeting with Ministers from across government to discuss the themes emerging out of the Government's Policy Review Ministerial seminars - 19th February 2007

"I think the presentations are very interesting and I think the next stage, to be absolutely blunt, is to get to a slightly harder edge on the outcomes. And the reason why I think this is very important is all of these issues are issues that have completely changed over the ten years."

"And then you are going to come finally, and I am not suggesting in relation to education and health, but to some quite difficult questions about how you fund it for the future."

"Because we have come to a settlement in pensions in the end which says okay we are going to give you a basic state pension, we will re-link it with earnings but it is up to you to top that up and we will enable you to do that from this low cost savings vehicle, and whatís more we will opt you in unless you decide to opt out. But if you take going forward 20 years, unless we increase the numbers of people who are of working age in work we are going to find it hard to fund that over time. And letís be absolutely clear, and this is why these debates about things like transport funding at the moment are so interesting, okay people may say we want more public money to go into building a better transport system but they are not going to pay any more tax to do that, we know that, they are just not going to do it."

"So I think what we need to do from this now, because I think there have been excellent presentations and they do analyse what is basically a changing society, is some quite clear policy directions out of it, not detailed policy but policy directions, where are you going on these issues to do with rights and responsibilities, delivery of services, the role of the state and so on."

"But you know the purpose of this all the way through is to get out of it a series of directions, the analysis is very clear, then to work out where the directions are. And actually let's be absolutely clear - out there will be lots of people who would think they are paying enough tax at the moment so they are going to be asking well what does all that mean? And that is why you need to get to this sense I think of a fair bargain with the rights and responsibilities at the heart of it so that they think, for example, if there is more help for people down at the bottom end there is also more responsibility on people to take advantage of that help, otherwise you end up in a situation where they kind of think that this is a very worthy progressive agenda but you know someone is going to come and put their hand in their pocket in order to pay for it all."

PM's Presentation to an all party pannel of MPs

The Prime Minister gave a presentation about the progress of the Government's policy review process to an all-party panel of MPs on 6th February.

PM's Introduction

I passionately believe that this country is well-placed to grasp the opportunities and meet the challenges of the coming decades. Britain is a diverse and dynamic society with excellent values and a talented, educated and tolerant people. Our economy is the envy of our competitors, our public services improving, our influence in the world far beyond our size and population.

But the pace of change in the world is faster than ever. We face threats which were scarcely on the radar even a decade ago. New trends and opportunities emerge all the time. Few problems now don't stretch well beyond our borders. Ten years ago few people talked about the need to secure Britain's long-term energy supply, the impact of India's growth on our economic prospects or how advances in genetics will transform medicine over the coming decades. Yet these are all now right at the top of our national agenda.

If we are to continue to provide security for our country and its citizens, to extend prosperity and to make the most of the opportunities ahead, we must identify and prepare for these long-term changes and the impact they will have on us.

This is the aim of the policy review which we have begun. It is a serious, thorough and strategic review of priorities and policies. It will recognise as well that it won't just be the challenges that change but also the correct solutions.

Every area of Government policy will be examined. There are six working groups looking at economic dynamism; environment and energy; public services; security, crime and justice, the role of the state; and Britain in the World.

The Cabinet and the government at every level will be involved. But to get this right, we also need to look well beyond Whitehall. We need the help of the business and voluntary sectors, of academics and policy experts and of the public as a whole.

So we want to engage with as many people as possible in this policy review. We want to carry it out in the open, not behind closed doors. This web-site contains some of the key questions which each of the review groups will be considering. We are interested to know whether you think these are the right challenges we should be focusing on and what you think the answers might be.

I believe the more people who are involved, the more likely it is we come up with the right solutions for the country. And this is in everyone's interests.

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