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布莱尔首相演讲:Investment

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Transcript of the Prime Minister's broadcast on investment

Wherever you look in our country, you can see the result of decades of under-investment.

Children still being taught in cramped or prefab classrooms. Patients treated in wards built long before penicillin was discovered.

Our railways and roads fall short of the standards we need. And that's not just bad for travellers but bad for our economy.

And it's not just the fabric of our country which reveals the signs of this failure to invest.

There was a chronic shortage of people, of teachers, doctors, nurses when we came into Government three years ago.

Even worse, we found that training places and recruitment had often been cut back.

Now I don't go along with those who claim, for example, that we have a third world health service.

That's an insult to the dedicated doctors and nurses who work in the NHS.

And it also ignores the fact that thousands of people every day get superb treatment and care.

But we are now the fourth biggest economy in the world. And few people would claim we have the fourth best public services. I certainly don't.

That's because for far too long - we haven't invested. We haven't looked to the long-term. We haven't invested for our future.

And that's largely because of the cycle of boom and bust which has gripped our economy for so long.

It meant sudden increases of investment followed by panic cut-backs which made it impossible to plan sensibly for the future.

We were so determined to restore stability to the economy - even if it meant hard decisions and some unpopularity.

We didn't ignore investment in our early years. Indeed we launched the biggest hospital building programme in the history of the health service. The first of these is already open in Carlisle. We invested to make sure that infant class sizes have fallen. Over 10,000 schools have been re-furbished or repaired. Wherever you live, there'll be a school near you which has benefited.

But there is a great deal more to do. And with inflation and interest rates low, billions saved in debt repayments and a record number of people in work, the country can now afford the sustained investment needed in our health service, schools, police and transport systems.

It means a 150% increase in investment in public transport investment desperately needed for our roads and railways.

Then there's a £1.4 billion increase in health spending on hospitals, clinics and equipment.

And extra investment, too, for urgent repairs for 7,000 more schools.

But there's little point in having wonderful new schools or hospitals if you don't have the trained staff to go into them.

So we're working hard to tackle the shortage of nurses, doctors and teachers.

We've reversed, for example, the short-sighted cuts in nurse training places. We've expanded medical schools and places.

We are having some success, too - an increase of nearly 5,000 doctors in the health service in the last three years in the health service. An increase of 10,000 qualified nurses too.

And this week we learnt that for the first time in eight years the number of teachers in training has risen.

That is vital because it is the dedicated teachers who are delivering the real progress we're seeing in our schools.

Good teachers can and do make a massive difference to the lives of the children they teach.

Every day, in schools the length and breadth of our country, the hard-work of dedicated teachers give our children the help and encouragement they need to realise their potential.

For far too long however, teachers have felt under-valued and under-rewarded. And that's wrong when you think that there can be few jobs more fulfilling, more challenging or more important to our society's future than being a teacher.

So this welcome increase in the numbers of teachers in training is a sign that we are beginning to get things right.

But there's a lot more that we need to do. I want to see the best and the brightest sign up in their tens of thousands to become teachers, to join that education crusade.

We need more teachers just as we need more doctors, more nurses, more modern schools and hospitals.

It can't be done overnight. It takes years to build a new hospital or train new doctors.

But our hard-won economic stability means we now have the chance at least to plan and invest for the long-term.

A chance to end the years of neglect of our public services and deliver the world-class education, health and transport system that this country needs and deserves. It's a chance that we should all take.
 

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