There is more evidence this morning that Labour’s anti-poverty programmes aren’t working:

  1. Tory Housing spokesman Grant Shapps MP has discovered that the number of rough sleepers may not be 498 as Labour’s figures insist but may be 1,300.  It appears that the 271 local authorities who reported having 0 to 10 rough sleepers are automatically counted as having zero rough sleepers by the Government.  Click here
    for a PDF of Grant’s Roughly Sleeping report.
  2. A report from the Policy Exchange think tank finds that £30bn spent on urban regeneration has had no real impact.  The authors conclude: "Successful towns are becoming more successful, poorer towns are being less successful."  Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich of Policy Exchange told the BBC: "The big picture is the same: towns which receive large amounts of urban policy funding are not converging to the UK average.  If anything, they are slipping farther behind while successful towns are stretching their lead."

Today is therefore a good day for the Conservatives to go into the heart of Labour territory and offer a different approach to fighting poverty.

David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith are in Manchester today in the first of a series of initiatives by the Centre for Social Justice that will highlight the social challenges facing Britain’s major cities.  The graphic on the right identifies some key problems in Manchester.

The Conservative leader will use the Manchester visit to launch the ‘Conservative Co-operative Movement’.  The Co-op movement, which will be chaired by Jesse Norman, our Hereford candidate, will help people form groups to take control of their local public services.

David Cameron is expected to say the following:

"Over 100 schools in Sweden are co-ops. Over 600 schools in Spain.  So I want to explore how we can create a new generation of co-operative schools in Britain – funded by the taxpayer but owned by parents and the local community."

He will continue:

"The co-op movement has generally been associated with the political left.  I think that’s a shame. First, because there have always been people on the centre-right concerned about the effects of capitalism on the social fabric.  Men like Carlyle and Disraeli, following the tradition of Edmund Burke and Adam Smith himself, who recognised at the outset of the industrial revolution that profit was not the only organising principle of a healthy society.  And second, because the co-operative principle captures precisely the vision of social progress that we on the centre-right believe in: the idea of social responsibility, that we’re all in this together, that there is such a thing as society – it’s just not the same thing as the state."


Related link: The poor are getting poorer

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