A draft adrift

March 20, 1998

When Gordon Brown unilaterally announced plans for the UFI at a Labour Party Conference in his days as opposition spokesman for trade and industry, hackles were raised since the party's education team knew nothing of the plan. More than four years later, the government is still squabbling about whose idea it is. The composition of the UFI advisory group, said disgruntled group member Diana Laurillard, was never right.

Consequently, "the group did f-all for the four months" from its first meeting in August 1997 until it was disbanded, said another group member, who did not want to be named. Since then, planning has been done by an elusive "prospectus team" of civil servants and management consultants. The result? According to sources who have seen the draft prospectus, which was supposed to be published last month, it adds nothing to the vision for the UFI presented by the Institute of Public Policy Research in a pamphlet released in December 1996. And Brown is still reluctant to fund it.

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