Prime Minister David Cameron puts forward his plan to allow people to manage their day-to-day lives
The events of the past few months have been extraordinary ones in the political life of Britain. We’ve had the first hung Parliament in over three decades, the first Conservatives in government for thirteen years, the first coalition government in sixty-five years and the first Deputy Prime Minister from another party since the Second World War.
Along the way, the circumstances we have been finding ourselves in are not ones I – or anyone else – had originally planned for. But this coalition government has approached every twist in the road with one simple ambition: to provide this country with the strong, stable and decisive government it so desperately needs.
However, no government – however determined – can succeed without a simple articulation of what it is trying to achieve. Governments need purpose – and we have that. Of course, reducing our deficit and continuing to ensure economic recovery is the most urgent issue facing Britain. But as we go about that, our clear purpose is to make two major shifts in our national life.
The first is people power. For decades, the instinctive response of government to any problem has been to hoard power to the centre. This hasn’t just been incredibly damaging to the fabric of our social life, it has also been hugely expensive and inefficient. So we want to reverse this. We want to radically redistribute power away from government and give it back to local communities and people. Everywhere you look, you can see this approach. It underpins our attitude to public service reform, animates our plans for genuine localism and explains our focus on government transparency. So whether it’s by allowing different organisations to open new schools, giving councils more powers or letting local people hold the police to account, we are determined to put people back in charge of their own destiny.
The second is long-term thinking. For too long politics has been dictated by the short-term. Tough decisions that will make lasting change are parked. Initiatives and gimmicks that fit the news cycle are passed through. It’s no way to run a business, let alone a country, so we are determined our decisions take the long view. You can see that ambition running right through our plans, from safeguarding the environment for future generations to reforming welfare to get people off benefits and into work, tackling the blight of youth unemployment and investing in our infrastructure to build a competitive and sustainable economy for the future. If we are true to this, then we can make sure Britain is a success not just for the years, but the decades to come.
So this is the purpose of our government, in one sentence: putting power in the hands of communities and individuals and equipping Britain for long-term success. And this will have a major impact for everyone reading this. If you work in government or local government, you need to ask yourself the same questions: how can you put more power in people’s hands? Are the decisions you taking going to benefit Britain for the years to come? And if you work on the frontline, in our public services, you need to get ready for a new era where you call the shots and you are allowed to get on with the job.
This coalition government may have already made history – but be in no doubt, our eyes are fixed firmly on the future. We are clear about the kind of country we want to build: a country where people are once again charged with the confidence and belief that comes with being in control of their lives; a country that plans for the tomorrow as well as making the best of today. And we are determined – with your help – to see it through.