Gordon Brown has launched Labour's local election campaign ahead of May's poll.
The prime minister set out Labour's priorities for the local election during a visit to Stevenage, along with deputy leader Harriet Harman.
He spoke on crime, expanding the previously announced plans for neighbourhood policing, as well as local services including schools.
Mr Brown unveiled Labour's new campaign slogan, with councillors fighting under the banner: "New Labour, Your Britain".
In campaign literature, Mr Brown wrote: "Our starting point is, and always will be, the struggles and the hopes and ambitions of hard-working families.
"The priorities of Britain's families who play by the rules are our priorities - education, the NHS, cutting crime, affordable housing and a strong economy.
"People need to see their policemen and women in their communities to feel safer, so this government has ensured that every community in England will have its own dedicated neighbourhood police team patrolling the streets, contactable by mobile phone, and in touch with local people."
More than 4,000 seats are being contested across England and Wales.
Labour will be keen not to repeat their poor performance at last year's local elections, as they fight for seats untested since 2004.
The Conservatives are under pressure to prove their credibility as a national party and have been pouring funds into northern seats in a bid to boost their hold on Labour's heartland.
Shadow foreign secretary and former leader William Hague has been leading fundraising in the north and is understood to have a generous 'war chest' to wage May's election with.
According to the Times, Mr Hague has more than doubled the funding available to the party in the north.
As a signal of the importance the Tories are placing on northern councils, the party's Northern Board has been allowed to keep every penny raised.
The Conservatives currently hold 19 councils across the north of England and no councillors in key cities Liverpool and Newcastle. They can claim only one councillor each in Sheffield and Manchester.