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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 01:52 GMT 02:52 UK
Whitehall targets 'to be slashed'
Andy Burnham
Mr Burnham said services must "look and feel differently"
The number of targets set by Whitehall for public services like schools and hospitals could be cut by two-thirds, a cabinet minister has indicated.

Andy Burnham, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, suggested 110 public service agreements could be reduced to 30.

He told the Guardian the government would avoid "the crude approach of setting a one-size-fits-all target".

Mr Burnham said targets had been right for Labour's first decade in power, but under-funding had since been reversed.

'Style of government'

Tony Blair's government relied heavily on targets after it was elected in 1997.

Mr Burnham said: "This is the opening of a new chapter.

"If we get this right, the style of government will feel different.

"The direction of travel is for public services to look and feel differently in different parts of the country."

Some targets, such as cutting NHS waiting lists to a maximum of 18 weeks by 2008, are expected to survive.

But it is thought most new agreements will allow services greater flexibility to meet local needs.

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