Clarke's verdict on life after Blair

CHRIS FISHER, EDP Political Editor Labour should consider more “co-funding” of public services on the lines of the controversial university tuition fees, Charles Clarke said last night.The Norwich MP and former home secretary argued - in a “Life after Blair” lecture at the London School of Economics - that “we should accept it is reasonable in some areas for the beneficiaries of public spending to make a greater contribution to the spending from which they benefit, in some proportion to the benefit received”.

CHRIS FISHER, EDP Political Editor

Labour should consider more “co-funding” of public services on the lines of the controversial university tuition fees, Charles Clarke said last night.

The Norwich MP and former home secretary argued - in a “Life after Blair” lecture at the London School of Economics - that “we should accept it is reasonable in some areas for the beneficiaries of public spending to make a greater contribution to the spending from which they benefit, in some proportion to the benefit received”.

He cited the example of “higher and more variable tuition fees” - a policy which he, as the then education secretary, drove through the House of Commons.

Mr Clarke also emphasised that he believes “the public will accept green taxation if they can see the benefits are genuine and will impact upon the lives of themselves and their families”.

It was, he added, a god example of tax “hypothecation” attaching tax revenues “to those things that the public wants to spend money on”.

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The speech is bound to be seen as further evidence of a bid by Mr Clarke to present himself as an alternative to Gordon Brown as the successor to Tony Blair.