Tony Blair urges public sector workers to prove their worth

Blair said that public support for continuing investment in schools and hospitals depended on staff demonstrating to taxpayers that services are improving.

Reform of the public sector, including introducing the ability for patients to choose exactly where they receive treatment, or where parents can send their children to school, is a key component of Blair's third term legislative agenda, the AP reports.

But Blair has faced difficulty proving to voters that hiring 30,000 more teachers and about 78,000 more nurses since he took office in 1997 has had any real effect. His governing Labour party's performed poorly in local elections last month, trailing the main opposition Conservatives.

A poll published this week showed that Labour had fallen 10 points behind the Conservatives, just six months after holding a 10-point lead.

Blair told a government-sponsored conference on public sector reform: "There is a basic deal here, investment for results."

Two weeks ago, Home Secretary John Reid strongly criticized immigration officials, saying Britain's immigration service was "not fit for purpose."

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Author`s name: Editorial Team