Headlines: October 17th, 2001

The Prime Minister has acted to re-affirm that public service reform is still top of his agenda, despite the events of September 11 and its consequences.At a special gathering in London of workers from across the public sector, he said that strong public services would define Britain’s strength and success as much as any international crisis. He said that it was on these bread and butter issues such as these on which the Government would be judged.

He said the level of change required would present the toughest challenge of this Parliament, with no dogma allowed to stand in its path. He described the key to reform is re-designing the system round the user – the patient, the pupil, the passenger, the victim of crime.

And he addressed a key worry for many in the private sector – that of creeping privatisation. He said that services should still be paid for collectively through taxation, but for this route to continue to be sustainable, the old familiar ideological clashes must be put aside.

He said that where the private sector could improve public services, nothing should stand in the way of their use.

Full speech: www.pm.gov.uk