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Thursday, 21 June, 2001, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Cabinet told of public services 'mission'
Cabinet members
The new cabinet assembles at Downing Street
Plans to reform public services fundamentally - as detailed in the Queen's Speech - are Labour's mission for the party's second term, Tony Blair has told the cabinet.

But Mr Blair warned colleagues that the reform programme - which includes controversial plans to increase the role of the private sector in delivering public services - would prompt suspicion and opposition.


It is important that the approach is not shorthanded and caricatured

Prime minister's spokesman
He insisted that would be possible to bring public sector workers round to the idea and the prime minister praised public servants for their contribution.

His official spokesman said Mr Blair had told the cabinet that the speech - delivered on Wednesday - represented "fundamental programme of reform, this was the mission of the second term."

It was important that there was "constant explanation of what this was about, as people would try to misinterpret it and misrepresent it."

Opposition

The plans for greater private sector involvement in public services have already prompted opposition in some public sector unions.

But the government was "not seeking confrontation", preferring to argue its case and build a partnership to deliver change.

Mr Blair acknowledged that the government could not deliver the reforms without the support of public sector workers.

He insisted that he was not talking about privatising the public services, but rather the better delivery of public services.

Asked just who the prime minister had in mind when he said people would try to misinterpret and misrepresent, the spokesman cited the media.

"It is important that the approach is not shorthanded and caricatured," the spokesman said.

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See also:

20 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Blair targets public services
19 Jun 01 | Business
Byers heckled at union conference
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Labour must deliver, says Hague
21 Jun 01 | UK Politics
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