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Howard: It's not about talking and promising. It's about doing and delivering

Speech in Loughborough

"In two days' time, people will go to the polls.

They can vote to keep things as they are. Or they can vote for a positive change.

If they do, on Friday May the sixth, they will wake up to a brighter day for our country.

Think about it: the first day of a government that starts taking action on the things that matter to our country; a government that never stops taking action on the things that matter.

It's not about talking: it's about doing.

It's not about promising: it's about delivering.

It's about helping the people who do the right thing; the people who play by the rules; who work hard and who help themselves.

It's about action to clean up our hospitals so that people have the security of knowing they'll get better not worse when they go in for treatment.

How? We'll put matron back where she belongs: in charge.

It's about action to make our streets safe so that pensioners no longer feel prisoners in their own homes.

How? We'll recruit 5,000 more police - real police, each year.

And we'll introduce tough sentences for career drug dealers and burglars. If you're convicted of burglary three times you'll get three years - and for hard drug dealers it'll be seven years.

And they'll serve their sentences in full - there'll be no half time sentences for full time crimes.

And no-one will be above the law. That's why I've taken a stand on the tiny minority of travellers who stick two fingers up to the law - who've used the Human Rights Act to build what they like, where they like.

We are all British: one nation, one country and we should all have to play by the same rules.

It's about action to restore discipline at school so that kids get the start in life they deserve.

How? We'll give head teachers control over their classrooms. If they need to expel disruptive pupils they'll be able to. No ifs, no buts - just action, because I will not allow the minority to ruin the education of the majority.

It's about action to secure our borders so that we control immigration.

How? Parliament will set an annual limit on the numbers that can settle in Britain.

There'll be an Australian style system for work permits - so that we give priority to the people with the skills Britain needs.

And we'll break the link between coming to Britain and claiming asylum - so that we have a fairer, more humane system.

Some people don't agree with an annual limit. They're entitled to their views. But whatever they say, I'm not going to be stopped from saying and doing what I think is right for Britain.

For too many years immigration has been a no go area for political debate. If you said you thought that too many people were coming here, you were branded a racist.

Well - let's be clear. It's not racist to talk about immigration. It's not racist to criticize the system. It's not racist to want to limit the numbers. It's just plain common sense.

And it's about action to deliver lower taxes and value for money.

How? By cutting waste, we can cut taxes.

Stamp duty on the average home - that'll go, helping first time buyers get their foot on the property ladder. I want everyone to own their piece of Britain.

Millions of people who save for their pension - for every £100 they put in, we'll put in £10 more.

Pensioners - millions of them, will see their council tax bills cut by up to £500 - each year, every year.

Homeowners will be spared council tax revaluation and the re-banding of their homes - the next stealth tax Labour will impose, after the election.

We won't use the council tax as a stealth tax and we will not target the working women of Britain with a Liberal Democrat income tax either.

If people do the right thing, we'll do the right thing by them. If families work hard, we'll reward them. If you help yourself, we'll help you.

In the final days of this campaign, the contrast could not be starker.

Our message is all about the future: more police; cleaner hospitals; school discipline; lower taxes; and controlled immigration.

After eight years in power, Mr. Blair's one message about the future is "Don't let the Tories in". That's it. That's the limit of his vision.

His hope is to cling on to office. My hope is for a better Britain.

On Thursday our country can turn a new page. We can open a new chapter: a chapter of hope; a chapter of action; a chapter of achievement.

And here's what we'll do. If you elect us on Thursday, the action starts on Friday. Here is a timetable of eight specific tasks that will be my personal priorities.

First, on 9th May 2005 we will set out our plans to prevent police officers having to fill in a form every time they stop a yob in the street.

Second, by 6th June 2005 we will have signed up hospitals to put matron in charge of delivering cleaner hospitals.

Third, by 6th June 2005 we will have set in train a new 24-hour surveillance scheme to secure our borders. By 6th April 2006 we will make sure that all 35 major British ports of entry will be operating under the scheme.

Fourth, by 1st December 2005 classrooms will benefit from unruly pupils being expelled under our plans to give head teachers complete control over expulsions.

Fifth, by 1st April 2006 up to five million pensioners will have received their new council tax bills showing a discount of up to £500.

Sixth, by 6th April 2006 the first young families will have benefited from our abolition of stamp duty on houses costing up to £250,000.

Seventh, by 1st September 2006 students going to university will be freed from paying all tuition fees and Mr. Blair's planned top up fees will not be introduced.

Eighth, by 31st December 2006 we will have created a single body to fight illegal immigration - the British Border Control Police - and their 7,400 strong force will be under one unified control.

You can hold us to account. We've taken a stand on school discipline, cleaner hospitals, controlled immigration, more police and lower taxes. We've set out the specific actions we'll take. We've given you a timetable.

Now it's time for change. It's time for action.

I love my country, just like you do. And, just like you, I know that Britain could be doing so much better.

I remember my roots and I'm proud of them. I started out in a State school in a small town in South Wales. Like so many people, I've learnt that if you work hard, apply yourself and stick at it - whatever your background - you can make a success of your life.

So to all of you watching at home - don't be in any doubt about my determination to fight for a better life for you and your family; to serve you to the best of my ability; and to give back all I can to the country that has given me everything.

With 408 MPs and a 161 seat majority, Labour think they can get away with even higher taxes, higher crime and uncontrolled immigration.

Days before an election Mr Blair suddenly pretends he cares about your issues, but if he won on Thursday, make no mistake: he'll be back to his old ways on Friday.

Mr Blair's hope is just to keep his job; and the Lib Dems will help him do that. Our hope is for a better Britain.

So if you think what we think and want a better Britain too - you must send that message.

If you think what we think and want cleaner hospitals - you must send that message.

If you think what we think and want a more police and tougher sentences - you must send that message.

If you think what we think and want lower taxes - you must send that message.

If you think what we think and want school discipline - you must send that message.

If you think what we think and want a limit on immigration - you must send that message.

If you think what we think, take a stand on the issues that matter.

Vote Conservative."

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