JOHN HUMPHRYS: Stephen Byers, you told
us we'd have that new Golden Age, or at least we would see real improvements
at the previous election. Now, you're telling us we'll see it in time for
the next election. We're entitled to be deeply cynical about that, aren't
we, or at least deeply sceptical.
STEPHEN BYERS MP: Well I think people looking at
the state of the railways today will rightly say, look come on, get on
with the job, they're not good enough. And I've said I've been very clear
about this, we don't have the railway system which is fit for the Twenty
First Century and I've been taking the decisions actually, which have put
in place the building blocks to create a transport system and in particular
a railway system that will be radically different and an improved system
than the one we've got now.
HUMPHRYS: But even if they work,
it will take a very long time, that's the point I'm making.
BYERS: I agree with that. I mean
there are no...
HUMPHRYS: ....beyond the next election.
BYERS: There are no quick fixes.
I think we..well, there will be improvements by the time of the next election,
otherwise I will be in certain difficulties as Secretary of State for Transport.
HUMPHRYS: ..that's for sure, we'll
look at that in a bit more detail. But let's just look at what has happened
in the past. You've accepted your responsibility, you said so quite clearly,
but you've only been in the job five minutes. So, therefore, it follows
that other people in the government, were, should, accept their responsibility,
BYERS: And they do, and...
HUMPHRYS: Do they? I haven't actually
heard John Prescott saying "I hold my hand up.."
BYERS: Well, I don't know what
you were doing over New Year, but even where I was, I knew that John...
HUMPHRYS: I wasn't working...
BYERS: ...that John Prescott had
said that we took a gamble on keeping Railtrack going in 1997 and it was
a gamble which we accepted failed.
HUMPHRYS: Well I did hear that
interview and he was actually..regarded as being amazingly complacent.
BYERS: No, I don't think so. I
think he was saying, look, we've gambled on Railtrack, that was a mistake,
we're now taking the decisions which need to be taken to actually create
a railway system which is going to be one which delivers an improved quality
of service. And also in the first two years of the first Labour government,
1997-99, we did stick to those Conservative spending plans, so the additional
money that we are now seeing going into railways was not available for
those first two years. We needed to do that John because the public finances
were in such a mess that we needed to stabilise, to get national debt down
and now we've got more money which we can spend on essential services.
HUMPHRYS: But that apart, sticking
with Railtrack and all the rest of it, we should have interpreted what
Mr Prescott told us then as an apology should we, that was...
BYERS: He was explaining the circumstances
around decisions that were taken during that first term in office.
HUMPHRYS: But it was a mistake,
I mean he was saying...
BYERS: And he was very, very clear
about it, it was a gamble and it didn't work.
HUMPHRYS: You will have spent less,
I take your point about the state of the finances in the first two years
and how you wanted to.. you were committed to sticking to the previous
government's spending levels. But you will have spent less over the last
five years than the Tories did in their last five years, an extraordinary
thing really, given that you recognise the state the railways were in.
BYERS: Less money coming from the
public sector, we've seen quite a big investment from the private sector
into railways. The first term was about education and health, those were
the priorities on which we were elected in 1997 and as a result of the
investment that's now going in and we've had over the last few years, I
think people are beginning to see improvements as far as education is concerned
and improvements as far as the Health Service is concerned. We now need
to do the same for transport.
HUMPHRYS: So what we saw was a
period of benign neglect.
BYERS: I think we saw a period
where we were trying to reflect the priorities that the people had in 1997...
HUMPHRYS: ..and the effect of that
was benign neglect of the railways.
BYERS: Well no because what we
managed to do, what we were doing was putting into place the framework
for a new structure and that's the Strategic Rail Authority...
HUMPHRYS: ...it took an awful long
time to do that..
BYERS: ...it took a number of years
but we had to get legislation through Parliament.
HUMPHRYS: ...you didn't start the
legislation until years in...
BYERS: ..we had to get legislation
through Parliament. As I say the first priorities were education and health,
we had to get legislation in those areas through quickly, which is what
we did. We were criticised in some quarters at the time for doing that
but it was part of the modernisation and reform agenda. What we are now
doing with railways is part of that modernisation and reform agenda.
HUMPHRYS: Which I'll come to right
now but just to be clear about this. You've explained why we had this period
when the railways did not improve, should we see that as an apology. Are
you saying, on behalf of the government, you know, I'm sorry, we maybe
should have approached it slightly differently, is that what you are saying?
BYERS: I think in the first term
we had priorities which the people had which were education and health
and those were the ones on which we began delivery and we are seeing improvements
now. What we are now doing in relation to transport is the same process,
we are putting into place new structures, the investment is coming in,
there's a big reform programme which will be difficult for some people,
but that's the only way in which we are going to see real improvements
as far as railways are concerned.
HUMPHRYS: So to finish that point,
Peter Hain was wrong when he said we started too late?
BYERS: No, I think we took the
right decision in those first two years to stabilise public finances...
HUMPHRYS: ..but then there's another
three years after that isn't there?
BYERS: Well, what I do know and
I was Chief Secretary in the Treasury when we were carrying through some
of the public finance changes, is that only by stabilising and getting
national debt down - remember under the last Tory government national debt
was increasing dramatically. We are spending more in repayments on the
national debt than we were on our school system. What we've been able to
do is to cut the national debt as a result we've now got more money which
we can spend on a sustained long term basis in essential services.
HUMPHRYS: Right, we'll come to
that. I will take it that that was not an apology unless you wish to correct
me and we'll move on to the future which is your strategic plan of course
that was unveiled a few days ago and went up like a lead balloon. People
did not like it, huge criticism of it, the FT, the Financial Times, said
it should be read as a work of fiction. You are relying on that plan to
rescue the railways in effect. In truth, it is a list of, to quote you
in another context, "vague aspirations" isn't it.
BYERS: No, I think it's actually
very precise and I can see you've got a copy here on the table John.
HUMPHRYS: I do, riveting reading..
BYERS: It is, and if you turn to
the back you will see that each franchise area there are very specific
commitments which have been outlined and time tabled as well.
HUMPHRYS: All right, well let's
look at..forget the individual franchise at the moment. Let's look at the
total amount that's going to go into the railways, a total of sixty-seven
billion pounds over ten years. Now, that's what you told us, it wasn't
new money of course, it was money that had already been allocated, but...
BYERS: ..and we were very clear
about that John.
HUMPHRYS: Oh, indeed. But what
you were less clear about and we read it again, it happens to be the Financial
Times that has taken a very close interest in all of this yesterday, was
that seven and a half billion pounds of that money was actually being double
counted. So we've got to subtract that and it comes out at sixty billion.
BYERS: That's wrong actually...
HUMPHRYS: ..our old friend double
BYERS: I read the FT report as
well and I was as alarmed as you are clearly, John, about this, because
I was insistent that we must be absolutely precise about how we present
the figures. Lessons have been learned here, I can assure you of that...
HUMPHRYS: ..so there is an apology
there for having done a bit of double counting in the past...
BYERS: ..no I'm saying lessons
have been learnt....
HUMPHRYS: ...going to get one apology....
BYERS: ...I can see that's what
you are after in the course of this interview, perhaps there may be one
a bit later on I don't know. But, on the serious point, the allegation
made is that there's seven and a half billion which was counted against
public spending and the same seven and a half billion was counted against
private investment - that's simply not the case, that isn't so.
HUMPHRYS: So what was the case
BYERS: I think the Financial Times
will have to answer for their own article..
HUMPHRYS: But where did that seven
and a half billion pounds that was counted...where did that go?
BYERS: Well it is seven and half
billion in the element of public spending, the thirty-three and half billion,
but it is not then counted again in the private sector investment. The
Financial Times will have to explain the basis of their stories and it
is inaccurate to say that seven and a half billion is counted twice and
that's the truth of this issue.
HUMPHRYS: Let's look at the sixty-seven
billion pounds figure then. You are not going to get that sixty-seven billion
pounds in truth are you because so much of it assumes...it assumes the
private sector is going to put in a huge amount of money, thirty-four billion
pounds and you simply cannot sit here this Sunday morning and say I can
guarantee to you, that we'll get that thirty-four billion pounds, you can't
do that can you.
BYERS: What I can say and we saw
it again in the introduction film, is the allegation that the private sector
is walking away from investing in railways because of my decision in relation
HUMPHRYS: ...assumption that they
will I think is perhaps a better word...
BYERS: ...no, because what I think
is important to recognise is that the City knows there is a clear difference
between the failed privatisation that was Railtrack, you know a company
quoted on the stock market and the sort of public private partnerships
that we want to have in relation to the railway system. The two are quite
different and people and investors in the City can make that distinction
and all of the signs are that they want to be involved in the projects...
HUMPHRYS: ...are they?
BYERS: ...which are outlined in
the strategic plan...
HUMPHRYS: ...are they? Well, I'm
not so sure about that. I read the man from Standard and Poor's and as
you know Standard and Poor's are the sort of gold standard in determining
what credit companies are like and all the rest of it and being very sniffy
about it, just yesterday, in a piece that I read, and he was saying in
effect that there must be absolutely no political interference, that the
independent regulator must have full jurisdiction as used to be the case
and if that is not so, then the City will have no confidence in it at all.
BYERS: I think they want to see
the successor company to Railtrack and to get away from the uncertainty
which we have at the moment because the administrator has to go through
his legal obligations. But that's a quite different issue John I think
from the question about whether or not the City will invest in public/private
partnerships and what we saw just on Wednesday of last week, when the GNER
were awarded an extension, two year extension to their existing contract
on the east coast mainline, a hundred-million pounds of private sector
investment in improvements as far as that was concerned. So the private
sector will be involved, because they recognise that there are opportunities
for them in the process that we've put together.
HUMPHRYS: Well but that isn't the
message that was coming across from the people we spoke to in that film,
no matter, whether you're talking about Sir Alastair Morton or George Cox
or whoever, or indeed the man from Standard and Poor's. They're saying
look, we've got a number of problems with this, one of them is that it's
not going to make any money, the other is that if it doesn't make any money
we can't absolutely be certain that the government would bale us out, if
they did bale us out then that would be fine, but you can't offer any guarantees
on either of those bases, can you, ........you won't guarantee their debts
otherwise it would be nationalisation and so on.
BYERS: We're moving away from the
situation where the government would be regarded as sort of guarantor of
last resort to the private sector. The private sector can be involved in
public sector provision provided it adds value and to be quite blunt, it's
a means to an end. We involve the private sector when they can improve
the quality of public services which are being delivered, that's the basis
on which we operate.
HUMPHRYS: And the private sector
says to you, fine, now there is a risk involved here, clearly, there is,
in their view, especially bearing in mind what happened to Railtrack under
your tutelage, there is a very very real risk indeed. Now, either you increase
the income that we are liable to get, but of course if you were to do that,
you would have to push up fares, are you prepared to do that?
BYERS: Well you're assuming that
the model that replaces Railtrack is going to be the same as Railtrack.
HUMPHRYS: We have to assume something
because we don't know what it's going to be.
BYERS: Well, you don't, but in
due course, and basically, I mean people say, why is it taking so long?
This administration, you know, three, six months, is it going to take longer?
HUMPHRYS: ...and it is isn't it?
It's going to take at least a year, it could even be two years I've heard.
BYERS: I think it's unlikely that
it'll be taking, people talk about two years, eighteen months. Those people
have got a vested interest to say so because...
HUMPHRYS: ...well tell me how it'll
BYERS: ...either they're disgruntled
shareholders who want the government to pay compensation, or they're the
political opposition who will make these points. It's going to be for the
administrator to decide, he has legal obligations...
HUMPHRYS: ...you talk to him, I
mean you've a pretty clear idea.
BYERS: Well what I want to do is
to make sure that coming out of administration will be a successor body
to Railtrack which will be focused on putting the passengers first and
won't have the baggage which Railtrack had. Now, that will take time, but
we're unravelling here what was an enormously complicated failed privatisation.
Now I make no apologies for doing that, you know, Railtrack came to me
in the Summer, wanting more money, we looked at the situation, we took
a decision that no more public money would be provided to Railtrack, they've
got billions over the years and have failed to deliver and as a result
of that they were put into administration by the High Court. Now I have
choice really, you could tinker around at the edges and muddle through,
which sometimes people do, or take some of...
HUMPHRYS: ...your predecessors
BYERS: ...no I'm not saying that.
But you could take some hard decisions for which you'll get political flack,
as I've done over the last few months, but it's those decisions which are
crucial if we are actually going to improve the railway system in our country.
And it would have been easy just to sort of take the soft option, say well
here's more money, no reform, we'll just muddle through. But that's unacceptable,
because there's an issue here that does need to be tackled, it's not just
in railways actually, it's across the whole area of public services, we're
putting money in, we've got to have reform as well.
HUMPHRYS: The trouble is, as a
result of what you've done, you have created massive uncertainty, you wouldn't
argue with that. I mean you acknowledge that there is uncertainty because
we don't know what will come out of it.
BYERS: I accept that.
HUMPHRYS: Yes. And one of the points
that Iain Duncan Smith made in an interview this morning, is that because
you have done that and because the City now regards you with deep suspicion,
we are not going to sort this out unless you go, you personally go.
BYERS: Well Iain Duncan Smith would
say that, wouldn't he, that's no great surprise, but I'm here and I'm going
to try and deliver on this agenda. But on the point about risk and the
private sector approach to putting in investment, the private sector do
see a real distinction between the risk that was associated with a publicly
quoted company like Railtrack and the risk that's linked into the public/private
partnerships that we want to use to implement the strategic plan.
HUMPHRYS: But only if you are able
to say to them we are removing the normal commercial risk. I mean what
you've not been able to do and nobody's been able to do it, is rewrite
BYERS: ...yes, these are con...
BYERS: ...and these are contracts
which are entered into between the government and the private sector.
HUMPHRYS: ...but the fact, looking
at it very very simply indeed, a company, a bank, or an investor of any
sort says, I will put money into that if I can get a decent rate of return.
BYERS: Absolutely. And it's contractually
assured. I mean this...
HUMPHRYS: Ah. Well now, contractually
assured but the lender of last resort, or the guarantor of last resort
of course is the government in this particular case.
BYERS: ...but it's the same, it's
the same in all of these PFI...
HUMPHRYS: ...but you're not prepared
to say we will guarantee any losses that you might make as a result of
it, you just told me you can't do that...
BYERS: ...no well that's one of
the attractions for the government and public/private partnership is that
commercial risk transfers over, but if provided that, provided they deliver
on the contract, they get the benefits of the terms of that agreement,
and that is quite different, where there's a contractual relationship between
the government and the private sector, which is how public/private partnerships
are based compared to the whole question of the private sector buying shares
in a company like Railtrack. The two are quite separate.
HUMPHRYS: Except that the company,
the investor still has to make that profit and the point that Sir Alastair
Morton made there was that if you can't have the situation where the government's
going to be the guarantor of the, going to guarantee the potential debts,
then you've got to increase income. Now are you prepared to say, because
this'll worry passengers of course, because the only way to increase the
income would be to push up the fares or the rate charge, or freight charge
or whatever it is...
BYERS: ...or increase the subsidy...
HUMPHRYS: ...or increase the subsidy.
Well you've already told me you're not going to do that, at least I understood
you say that, correct me if I'm wrong?
BYERS: No, you're right.
HUMPHRYS: I'm right. So there's
no more government money coming in, therefore the only other way of increasing
income is to push up the fares, now there are understandings at the moment,
are you prepared to say, we will not push up the fares in order to provide
a better rate of return for potential investors.
BYERS: That's not the basis on
which the strategic plan is based. There are two quite...I'll try and explain
this, there are two quite separate issues here. There's the company which
runs the lines if you like, which is Railtrack Plc at the moment...
HUMPHRYS: ...and then you have
the train operating...
BYERS: ...the licence operators
and then we've got train operating companies and freight. I think Sir Alastair
Morton's comments were in relation to the licence operator, Railtrack Plc.
There are separate issues there about how they're funded to make sure the
tracks and the signalling are maintained properly and effectively. Now
that will be done through grants from government and also from what's called
the 'track access charges' and they have two streams of income if you like.
What we're saying now is that the successor to Railtrack should be focused
purely on renewals, operations and maintenance. The big infrastructure
contracts like the west coast mainline, will not be the responsibility
of the new successor body, they will be special purpose vehicles, new financial
arrangements, which will be contractually underpinned and the government
will make a contribution as part of those contractual obligations.
HUMPHRYS: Alright, well
let, it is a complicated area of course, but let's assume, and I insist
that many people believe this is a wrong assumption, but let's assume that
you do get all of that money that you talk about in the strategic plan.
It's still not going to be enough is it?
BYERS: Well it is a hugely
increased amount from what we've had in recent years.
HUMPHRYS: It's a lot of
money, nobody disputes that, but it's not gong to be enough, is it?
BYERS: Well I think it
will be to deliver a real improvement to the quality of the railway system
that we're seeing. We're talking about billions of pounds a year going
into railways, money which has not been there in the past, I mean the railways,
like many of our crucial public services have suffered from generations
of chronic under-investment, we're changing that now, we're changing it
in health, in education, the fight against crime, we're changing it for
railways and transport as well. And as we invest that money, we've got
to make sure that we get the reforms in place as well. What I don't want
to see is more money going into railways under the old system and not seeing
the improvements that the travelling public want to see, so we've got to
invest in reform and insist on results, that's not just in relation to
railways, but actually if you look across the whole of public services,
but the big challenge is, put the money in and insist on reform as well.
HUMPHRYS: But is you look
at what Brian Staples, the Chief Executive Officer, the guy who runs AMEY,
that big, big contract company that does all the contracting, and he says,
I quote, "I'd be surprised if it" the sum that's in the strategic plan,
"I'd be surprised if it came anywhere near what needs to be spent". Well
there's a man who knows exactly how the railway works, because he's involved
in it all the time, his company.
BYERS: And probably a man
who'd like a little bit more money coming into his company as a contractor,
HUMPHRYS: Indeed, but then
there's nothing in it to upset you is there?
BYERS: ..but there may
be a reason why he's there making the case for need for more money to be
spent on railways because he wants his company to get a bigger slice of
HUMPHRYS: ...but he's not
alone, is he?
BYERS: Well I think there
are issues about the funding or railways, but I do believe that the money
we've got in the ten-year plan, you know, tens of billions of pounds, provided
it's linked to the reform programme will make a real difference and raise
the quality of the railways in this country. I mean, passengers want some
very simple things, they want trains that are not cancelled, they want
them to arrive at their destination on time, they want them to be safe,
they want them to be clean and comfortable, and those are the priorities
and that's how we'll be judged on how we improve in all of those areas.
HUMPHRYS: Well let's just
try to sum up that bit then by saying, no more subsidy from the government,
over and above what the strategic plan tells us about, no more of that,
and as far as the train operating companies and all the rest of it are
concerned, no big increases in fares to raise more money for them.
BYERS: That's true. That's
not the basis of the strategic plan.
HUMPHRYS: That is good.
So passengers who saw their fares shooting up in order ultimately to pay
for it, would be entitled to say, the government cheated us, lied to us.
BYERS: Well, they'd be
entitled to say, this was not in the ten-year plan, because that's the
truth of the situation.
HUMPHRYS: And that ten-year
plan is now fixed. That is, that's there, that's solid, that's in concrete?
BYERS: The obligations
are there. I've said though I want it reviewed every year, because there's
no point in having a ten-year...
HUMPHRYS: ...so it's not
really a ten-year plan then?
BYERS: Well, it's a ten-year
plan as we sit here today, but it's got to be flexible John, because if
you set it...
HUMPHRYS: ...so there might
be a different ten-year plan this time next year?
BYERS: It'll be the same
ten-year plan, but we'll review in the light of...
HUMPHRYS: ...so it might
be different, but the same?
BYERS: Well, we'll explain.
We'll give a review, if you like, a year on. What we've been able to achieve,
and what we're going to do in the future. Because the importance of the
ten-year plan, if I can just say this, is that it breaks down very precisely,
and it's quite worrying for a politician, this degree of detail, what will
be achieved the end of this year, what will be achieved by the end of 2005,
very important, that may be the time of the next election, and what will
be achieved by 2010, very precise commitments being made in the ...
HUMPHRYS: And what about
fragmentation of the railways. Everybody agrees it's completely bonkers,
twenty-five different train operating companies alone, what ought it to
be? What would be a sensible pattern, sensible shape for the railways?
BYERS: Well I think you're
right to point out that we've inherited a system where we have this terrible
fragmentation, and as a result, it's almost a bit of a blame culture, and
one of the things that struck me when I came in...
HUMPHRYS: Surely not in
BYERS: I think, well not
just in politics but in the railway industry. The people were blaming one
another for the failings of the system but were not prepared to take responsibility
HUMPHRYS: So what do you
think it ought to be? We've got twenty-five for instance train operating
companies, two, three, four, one?
BYERS: Well what Richard
Bowker has said, who's the new Chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority,
there does need to be a reduction, in the number of franchise operators...
HUMPHRYS: ...big reduction?
BYERS: ...a significant
HUMPHRYS: And he could
see it ultimately theoretically going down to one, could you?
BYERS: I couldn't see that,
but I think there will be a reduction, significant from twenty-five, I
wouldn't like to put a precise figure on it. But what we need to have is
a new franchise map, where the winners of the franchises are pushed to
deliver real improvements and the franchise process is one of the key levers
that we have to drive up standards and we should use it. It hasn't been
used to that effect in the past, but the new franchising regime which has
just been announced as well, will have at it's heart, the need to improve
the quality of service, to upgrade the lines and to give a far better travelling
experience to rail passengers.
HUMPHRYS: Let's have a
look in the closing minutes of this discussion, at London Underground,
where you want again a public/private partnership. Many people say it's
completely crazy the way it's going to work, it'll just be another way
of the whole fiasco of Railtrack's going to be repeated, the railways going
to be repeated Underground. You seem over the last few weeks to have been
suggesting that it's possible you might have second thoughts about that,
but in truth it'd be far too embarrassing for you to have second thoughts
at this stage, wouldn't it? Anyway, you're about the embark on your great
sort of road show with Tony Blair, I gather?
BYERS: Well, no second
thoughts, but last June, once again, when I came in, I said there are three
things that have to be satisfied for the public/private partnership for
the Underground to go ahead...
HUMPHRYS: Value for money
BYERS: Value for money,
which is, we're just about to do the test. Safety must not be compromised,
so the Health and Safety Executive will determine whether the system is
safe, not a politician, not Ken Livingstone or myself, but the Health and
Safety Executive, and thirdly, that there will be no privatisation of London
Underground. So this is not a Railtrack for the tube, as some people have
said. London Underground will continue to be publicly owned. What will
happen is that they will enter into contracts with the private sector,
but it'll be the private sector working for London Underground, now the
only point in going ahead with it is if these three private contracts deliver
value for money, now if they don't deliver value for money, and we'll know
over the next few weeks, then the public/private partnership will not go
ahead, and that's not a U-turn John, that just reinforces the points I
made last June.
HUMPHRYS: Right, but if
they come back and say, well we're not absolutely convinced, I mean, it
doesn't even have to be a great ringing endorsement in other words, if
they say, 'if, er, a bit dodgy really, possibly' you'd say, alright, we
won't do it. I mean it's just as simple as that.
BYERS: No, what we're going
to do is, probably the second week in February, we will release all the
information, I'm getting independent review from Ernst and Young about
whether it will be value for money, and there'll be a three-week period
where everybody can look in detail at whether or not these secure value
for money and then a final decision will be taken, so that..
HUMPHRYS: ...that three
weeks gives you the chance to pull away from it?
BYERS: Well I think we're
just being very open and transparent, and I think it's a good move to actually
allow the public to look in detail at how public private partnerships work
in practice and that's precisely what we intend to do, because if they
don't achieve value for money, then they won't go ahead.
HUMPHRYS: Because at the
moment the handover's supposed to take place on, what April 1st is it?
BYERS: It's probably later
than that to be honest. April 1st was always a sort of early date.
HUMPHRYS: ...so when, when
BYERS: ...probably during
the Summer I would have thought...
HUMPHRYS: ...during the
HUMPHRYS: Summer's a long
time. Could slip into what September, October?
BYERS: Summer's not a very
long time in this country John.
HUMPHRYS: It does depend,
BYERS; Some time after
April and it would be foolish to try and say precisely when.
HUMPHRYS: But it may not
happen, you're really asking us to believe that it simply may not happen,
after all the great rows there have been, it may not happen.
BYERS: The important thing
I think is that if we don't go ahead with the PPP that we move quickly
to make sure the investment goes in. I mean, my sort of motive here, is
once again, with the London Underground, like the railways, and like other
public services, there have been generations of under investment. Now I
happen to believe that we have got a once in a generation opportunity here
to improve our public services, because the money is there for education,
for health, for transport, for railways, for the tube. What we've got to
do is to use this opportunity to invest that money but make the reforms
that are necessary. Some people will oppose that, but it has to be done
if we're going to have world class public services which is what our people
HUMPHRYS: Stephen Byers,
thanks very much indeed.