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Hague: Trust Professionals to Deliver Better Public Services

Last month we launched our advertising campaign asking the question, 'You paid the tax, so where's all the money gone?' It struck an immediate chord with people up and down the country who have grown tired of a Government which is all spin and no delivery.

Today, we are taking that argument further. We are highlighting how Labour's obsession with targets, plans and bureaucratic controls is getting in the way of teachers, nurses and police doing the jobs that they and the public want them to do.

50 years on, Labour still believe that Whitehall knows best. Well the people of this country know better.

Who knows more about the strengths and needs of your children, their teacher or David Blunkett?

Who knows more about tackling crime in your local community, the police constable or Jack Straw?

Who knows more about caring for patients, doctors and nurses or Alan Milburn?

So under the next Conservative Government, nurses will be nurses. They and the doctors they work with will decide who should be treated first based on medical need, rather than spin doctors' targets.

Under the next Conservative Government, teachers will be teachers. They will spend more time on their pupils and less time responding to Whitehall circulars, currently being dispensed at the rate of one every working day.

And under the next Conservative Government, police will police. They will be out on the streets catching criminals, not trapped behind desks hamstrung by bureaucracy and political correctness.

People have the right to expect that public services should be held to account. We have to know what hospital operations cost, how schools are performing and that the rule of law is being followed.

But over the last four years we have seen an unprecedented increase in political control of our Health Service, our education system and our police forces and what do we have to show for it? Services are deteriorating rather than getting better. Experienced staff are leaving and new recruits are increasingly difficult to find.

The fact is if we want to improve our public services in this country, politicians have to stop meddling in them and start trusting public service professionals to do what they do best.

That means giving control over school budgets to heads and governors and control over classrooms back to teachers. It means restoring Labour's cuts in police numbers and ensuring more police spend more of their time on the beat. And it means stepping back from the day-to-day running of the Health Service to allow doctors and nurses to make clinical decisions.

If better public services were just about money, we should have seen some improvement by now. As it is, after four years we are all still waiting. Four years of Labour clobbering car drivers, savers, and people with pensions and mortgages. Four years of Labour delivering nothing in return. The fact is Labour will always spin and never deliver. No wonder people are saying 'We paid the tax, so where has all the money gone?'

Labour's only answer is to beg for more time. But what this country really needs is a different approach.

Where how we spend public money will be as important as how much of it we spend.

Where the key decisions in our schools, hospitals and police stations are taken by those closest to the public they serve, not by faceless bureaucrats.

Where those working in the public services are trusted to do the jobs they are committed to do.

Where we show we value public servants by letting them do their jobs.

That is the approach the next Conservative Government will take.

I will now ask Ann Widdecombe, Liam Fox and Theresa May to tell you about how we will do this.

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