Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

HOW I WILL Get Britain Moving, by Alastair Darling

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

HOW I WILL Get Britain Moving, by Alastair Darling

Article excerpt


'Rail passengers must see improved reliability and service' Tube holidays: Alistair Darling sounded a stern warning to London Underground over its bumper 52-day holiday deal for station staff. He branded the generous leave "surprising" and made clear it must not be copied by the railways.

"Money is still very, very tight and people need to understand that. I think rewarding people who work is perfectly okay - provided the passengers see the gain that comes from that, in improved reliability and service.

"If there is a pay settlement, people expect to see a gain from it."

The Minister sounded sceptical about TfL's insistence that the deal would not cost taxpayers or passengers a penny extra.

"I read in the paper that it was selffinancing. Sometimes these things are not as they seem but I just don't have the detail.

"The rail industry is recovering but the recovery has a long way to go. We have to get costs under control."

'People say we should have 20mph speed limits... I don't think that's right' 20mph zones: putting himself in direct conflict with London's Mayor, Mr Darling said the speed limit trend was going too far.

"There's quite a substantial lobby, people saying we should have 20mph speed limits through large swathes of towns and cities. I don't think that's right, partly because I don't think it's necessary, partly because it would be difficult to enforce.

"There are cases where 20mph limits are justified, such as outside a school or a hospital for a short period, but we need to be sensible and grownup about these things."

Ken Livingstone announced plans two days ago for a big expansion of 'No need to replace level crossings' 'If someone wants to buy a 4x4 they are entitled to make that choice' the slow zones but Mr Darling said it was more important to take safety seriously. "It requires motorists driving through an estate to remember there might be young kids playing," he said.

4x4 cars: unlike Ken Livingstone, the Transport Secretary does not want to drive them off London's roads. He said: "They're not my cup of tea. …

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