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What the papers say - THE TIMES

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Britain's only publicly run rail franchise is outperforming its private competitors in punctuality and customer satisfaction. South Eastern Trains, operating from Kent into London, has just finished one year under direct control of the SRA, after the previous operator Connex was sacked for financial incompetence.

Backbench Labour MPs want the service to remain public as a benchmark for other operators.

Chancellor Gordon Brown's hopes of meeting fiscal targets were dealt a blow this week when it was revealed that the Treasury's coffers fell into the red in October for the first time in 10 years. Net borrowing by the public sector came in at £800M last month, confounding analysts' predictions of a repayment of £1.1bn.

The ecology of the Malvern Hills is threatened by CocaCola's plans to quadruple the amount of water it takes from the area's springs, campaigners have claimed. The company wants to increase production of its Malvern water range from 6M litres a year to 51M litres a year.

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