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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 January, 2004, 10:12 GMT
Tories ask for help in waste war
A nurse in an NHS hospital
The Tory leader makes a direct plea to public service staff
Conservative leader Michael Howard is appealing to staff in schools and hospitals to help expose waste in Britain's public services.

Mr Howard makes his personal plea in a full-page advertisement in the Society section of the Guardian newspaper.

He says he understands the "frustration" felt by public service staff beleaguered by "pen-pushing".

The appeal comes after the Tories asked former Millennium Dome chief David James to root out waste and red tape.

'Incompetence'

The Tory leader asks public service workers to send examples of waste to Mr James.

"The idea is that once armed with your professional insights and experience, we can apply our energies to root out waste, bureaucracy and incompetent administration, whether big or small," he says.

The British Government employs more than five million people, spending more than 400bn a year, says Mr Howard, but the European Central Bank says 70bn is lost through waste.

"I understand the frustration you feel when you can't provide the best possible service to the public because of all the pen-pushing, form-filling and paper-shuffling that surrounds you."

The appeal appears in the section of the newspaper where public sector jobs are advertised.

Dome chief's role

The Tories hope it will help convince people they are not against public services, despite their criticisms of performance in education and healthcare.

It follows hot on the heels of a full-page advertisement in the Times newspaper setting out Mr Howard's personal credo.

Mr James, the man who supervised the closure the Dome, has built his reputation around rescuing failing companies.

He is heading up a team senior accountants, senior hospital and education managers, and military figures looking at how the Tories could cut waste.

Cabinet Office Minister Douglas Alexander has dismissed the move as a reannouncement of previous Tory reviews on spending.

He says Mr Howard has an "appalling record on waste".

"As an economics minister he squandered 1.5bn on the poll tax, 4bn on Black Wednesday and 3.5bn on the cost of BSE," he said.




SEE ALSO:
Tories appoint red tape watchdog
08 Jan 04  |  Politics
Tory leader's 'I believe' pledge
02 Jan 04  |  Politics
Howard attacks Whitehall red tape
17 Dec 03  |  Politics


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