Today, we publish our strategy for public service reform for the year ahead - launched at the Nesta Lab this morning. The strategy is very simple. People need public services to help them get on and ahead in life. Now more than ever before. So, we're not going to cut back investment or leaves standards of service to chance, as the Conservatives propose. The public want guarantees right now, not a gamble when it comes to public services.

To the RSA last night, for my second speech there. (My first was my wedding speech at our wedding reception hosted there). The theme was reform of our public services about which we'll besaying a lot next week. For most families the worry about the downturn dominates everything. But more and more, people are thinking about the kind of economy - and the kind of society - we want to emerge from this storm.

Gordon Brown was in the East of England this week to explain our plan for Real Help Now. The PM sets out the three key steps we've taken; to save the banks - and our bank accounts; to give our economy a shot in the arm and deliver real help now; and third, to expand lending. This week, our work on "step three" took a big leap forward with deals agreed with Northern Rock and Royal Bank of Scotland to boost lending by some £39 billion.

A huge turnout at St Peter's College for my first residents' meeting in this part of town. I've been wanting to come and visit St Peter' s for some time. The college was opened by the last Lord of the manor of Saltley, Lord Adderley in 1852, for 30 Anglican student teachers on a piece of his land at Over Saltley to the east of Hall Farm. It was intended to be the focus of life in the village that Adderley planned. Lots of residents tonight were angry with Birmingham City Council.

First appearance at the Public Affairs Select Committee today. Always a nerve-wracking experience - but chair Tony Wright is a great thinker on how we reform Whitehall for the future. My basic argument? Simple. We can't deal with new burdens by building new bureaucracy. In the 21st century, you don't have to be big to be strong. We're reorganising at the Cabinet Office to drive this agenda, and today I welcomed Chris Wormwald as our new director general for public service reform.

Liam Byrne has congratulated Saltley’s new Police Community Support Officers for big new falls in crime.

The Member of Parliament for Birmingham Hodge Hill visited the Officers to congratulate them for smashing their crime reduction targets. Total recorded crime  has fallen by 14% in the area in the last 12 months, against a set target of 4%. This is on top of a 10% reduction the year before.

This morning will see me back to the Department for Business, to bring together ministers and LDV's management team. I spent much of yesterday on the 'phones to LDV's chief executive and ministers. I remain of the view that LDV could make it big in the 'green van' market - but the tens of millions needed means both Gaz group - LDV's owners - and the government doing their bit. More updates later.

Joint statement from the management of LDV,  Erik Eberhardson, head of the management buyout team and Liam Byrne, MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill:
 
“We had a long and constructive meeting with Ian Pearson this morning attended by the buyout team, LDV management, workforce representatives and Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne. Discussions are continuing and we continue to believe there is a viable long-term future for LDV”.

The government's new real help now website is live - www.realhelpnow.gov.uk. It sets out Britain's plan to fight the downturn and explains the big array of help now on the table for families and businesses.Now's not the time for cut backs as Mr Cameron proposes. Now's the time to fightback and invest.

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