Number is up when it comes to jams

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Indy Politics
DRIVERS confined in traffic jams by roadworks were promised a remedy yesterday under the Citizen's Charter.

Motorists will get clear displays showing telephone numbers where they can lodge a complaint, John Major told an international conference in London on the Citizen's Charter. 'We are looking urgently at how to improve information for motorists including clear displays showing what number to ring when roadworks cause delays,' he said.

The idea of using car telephones to contact a number to complain to may invite the kind of ridicule from critics that greeted Mr Major's promise to reduce the number of red cones and provide more lavatories on motorways.

But the Prime Minister made it clear to his international audience that those who felt he should be searching for a big idea did not know the British as he did. 'We British have always been suspicious of the purely theoretical . . . As our poet John Betjeman put it, we like 'democracy and proper drains'.'

He said that restoring the principle of public service included setting standards. 'If you fail to meet the promised standard, tell people, then do something about it. Explain when things go wrong, because one thing more irritating than being kept waiting is not being told why.'

Mr Major said that the British programme of public service reform represented the most comprehensive change in the shape of British administration since the 1850s, which would 'change the lives of millions' . . . including those stuck in the traditional British traffic jam.