Headlines: March 8th, 2001

In a Budget attempting to please the voter ahead of a general election, the Chancellor will also have heartened many who work in the public services.On top of the sums already allocated to push up standards in the health service and in education in the 2000 Spending Review, there is allocation of a further billion pounds for each service.

And there’s a further third of a billion pounds available to step up anti-drugs measures.

The Chancellor says the Budget locks in continued economic stability and underpins the significant expansion of key public services planned over the next three years, while taking further steps to meet the Government’s long-term economic goals.

The billion pounds for education will be spread over three years and the bulk will go direct to head teachers to modernise buildings and equipment and improve pupil attainment.

The health money is similarly spread over three years – just under half to improving frontline hospital investment such as scanners.

Both services will see specific funds to help recruit and retain staff.

The extra drugs money will go straight to the 376 Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships already trying to help local communities drive out drugs and drug-related crime.

More detail on the exactly where the new money will go is likely to be announced over the next few days. The NHS Confederation has welcomed taxation measures to take children out of poverty as a long term health promotion measure, and the more immediate boost to funding of the infrastructure of hospitals measures to get and retain staff.

Links: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk