The Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Rt Hon Tessa Jowell, will today argue that regenerating the public realm must be a priority for a third term Labour Government, in a speech to the think-tank Demos and Toynbee Hall. She will argue that ‘poverty of aspiration’ is as destructive to well-being as material poverty, and must be tackled through both the regeneration of the public realm and through engaging people as citizens as well as consumers in public services.
Her speech, Tackling ‘poverty of aspiration’ through rebuilding the Public Realm, will be given at Toynbee Hall in East London at 12:30 pm on Tuesday 12 April. It will examine the diversity of the public realm and the crucial part it plays in our identity - from public parks and squares to our streets; museums to music; Wembley to the Angel of the North; the BBC; the National Lottery; and great national celebrations – and also the revitalisation of our political institutions and the health of democracy as a logical consequence of Labour’s public service reform to date.
“There is a vital link between the idea of the public realm, the importance of public service reform and the need to reshape our democracy”, says Tessa Jowell. “We must nurture new forms of civic participation which themselves create public value and sustain opportunities for others to thrive and contribute. The public realm and the public sector cannot be made to serve people by proxy – it really has to be governance by the people for the people.”
“I want to argue that in rescuing our public services, in making them fit for everybody to use and in offering choice and flexibility regardless of ability to pay we have created a strong new foundation of social solidarity in British society. By bringing all people in and making all people feel that the public services are worth using and worth engaging with, there is an opportunity for people to become agents of change – agents of change both in their own lives and agents of change in the wider community.”
“I believe the great challenge facing this Government in a third term is how to continue responding to people’s demands for more flexible and personal public services while inviting them to be partners in shaping those services for the benefit of themselves and others,” she says.
Tessa Jowell also says that a third term is a chance to “have a bit of fun; an opportunity for people to enjoy the public realm as never before; for people to have more of those enriching shared experiences in the world of culture, sport and heritage that make life worth living, that nurture a sense of common humanity and that have the potential to make ‘poverty of aspiration’ history.”
Notes to editors
- Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, will be giving her speech, Tackling 'poverty of aspiration' through rebuilding the Public Realm, to an event co-hosted by Demos and Toynbee Hall.
- The speech will be given at Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6LS at 12:30 pm on Tuesday 12 April 2005.
- The speech draws on a personal essay that Tessa Jowell is publishing through Demos, which is available the website: /publications/tessajowell
- Tessa Jowell is Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. She was first elected MP for Dulwich and West Norwood in 1992, before which she had a career in psychiatric social work, social policy and public sector management.
- Demos is an independent think-tank with a long-standing interest in public service reform and rejuvenating the public realm. For further information visit www.demos.co.uk
- Toynbee Hall is a voluntary organisation which, for well over a hundred years, has been helping people living in the East End of London, providing a range of services for children, young people, families and older people. For further information visit www.toynbeehall.org.uk