Gallery: Prime Minister Gordon Brown visits Stevenage
PM Gordon Brown was in Stevenage this morning (Friday) as part of his election campaign, which kick-started this week. The PM, accompanied by wife Sarah and home secretary Alan Johnson, popped into the Youth Community Building at The Oval to speak to youn
PM Gordon Brown was in Stevenage this morning (Friday) as part of his election campaign, which kick-started this week.
The PM, accompanied by wife Sarah and home secretary Alan Johnson, popped into the Youth Community Building at The Oval to speak to youngsters involved in cheerleading, basketball, and a community arts project.
He then moved to the nearby Oval Community Centre to speak with Stevenage volunteers who have made a positive difference in the town.
Addressing the volunteers, he said: "It's a privilege for me and Sarah to be here in Stevenage today.
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"A community is made up of thousands of acts of friendship and caring and support for each other, and each one of you here today has contributed to the strength and resilience of the community.
"I'm very proud of Stevenage and the message it sends out about what can be done if people pull together.
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"I have come to Stevenage many times to see so many great projects at work."
Asked if there would be "painful cuts" made if Labour stays in power after the general election, Mr Brown said: "We have come through a recession. We have run up a deficit. What we have got to do is make sure we cut the deficit in a way that does not affect our frontline services. The less urgent services will have to take a back seat while we ensure policing, schools and hospitals improve."
He added: "The proposed National Insurance increase is to go to the health service, policing and schools, to make sure we don't return to the pre-1990s, when school roofs were leaking and policing was totally underfunded."
The PM said part of the reason for his visit to Stevenage was to draw attention to the fact 1,500 jobs will be created in the town with the development of a science park at pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline on Six Hills Way.
When The Comet challenged Mr Brown, questioning how many people in Stevenage would actually be able to take advantage of the highly skilled, specialised Glaxo jobs, he said: "If you have got 1,500 jobs created in an area, there's a huge spinoff from that - lots more trade in the shops and lots more jobs elsewhere. A lot of services will result from this big investment, and there will be jobs locally.