Labour vows to put Britons at the front of council house queue in bid to win back voters from the far-Right
British-born families will jump ahead of immigrants and asylum seekers in the queue for council housing under far-reaching plans unveiled today.
Gordon Brown will tear up the rules in a bid to win back Labour's working class heartlands, where support has grown for the far-Right British National Party.
The 'British homes for British workers' plan, if it succeeds, will force councils to end the unfairness which sees immigrants with large families vault to the top of the council house list.
It is part of a list of measures that Mr Brown wants to use to relaunch his premiership.
Under the proposals, Labour hopes that council chiefs will be given more freedom to shape their own rules and told to give priority to those with local links, family ties, an existing job and claimants who have been longest on the waiting list.
But in a policy about-turn, the Prime Minister will stake his political future on a Blairite agenda which hands more rights to parents and patients along with promises to strip away top-down targets in favour of 'entitlements'.
Other ideas include:
Handing cancer patients a legal right to see a specialist within two weeks and get treatment within 18 weeks.
Ripping up Labour's aversion to private healthcare by using taxpayers' money to send them private if they can't get local treatment in time on the NHS.
Giving everyone over 40 a firm entitlement to a free health check-up.
Letting schools take parents of bullies and disruptive pupils to court.
Promising every pupil struggling with English or maths the right to personal private tuition.
Handing parents the power to rate their child's school and help decide its place in national league tables.
Mr Brown appears determined to fight the final year of his premiership with policies that ape Tony Blair's plans for 'choice' in the public services, which he conspired to block when he was Chancellor.
His plans will reignite the row with the Tories over spending, which is becoming the defining issue in the run-up to the next general election.
Lord Mandelson, who is now deputy prime minister in all but name, today insisted the policies were new and 'not reheated' and were aimed at helping the government 'live within our means'.
'Being fiscally responsible is an important principle of New Labour. The new policies being announced today by the Prime Minister reflect a reprioritising of expenditure both within and between departments,' he said.
He dodged a question about cuts in departmental budgets but went on to reveal the Government would not be publishing another spending review before the next election.
'I believe the Chancellor has made that judgment, yes,' he told the BBC. 'The spending period currently operating in Government stretches beyond the next election and therefore it is reasonable to review public spending at that time. We have decided to base our spending plans on reality rather than speculation.'