Brown insists extra cash for public services must lead to improvements

The chancellor this week promised to increase
annual spending on public services by £61bn by 2005-6 – but
insisted that the resources must be matched by reform and

Announcing the outcome of the
government’s third comprehensive spending review, Brown unveiled a
£1.5bn combined budget for childcare, early years education
and Sure Start by 2005-6 to be managed by a new inter-departmental
unit based within the Department for Education and Skills. Baroness
Ashton, who is currently junior minister for early years and school
standards, will take on the new role of minister for Sure Start,
early years and child care.

extra funding will ensure the creation of at least 250,000 extra
child care places, and an expansion of Sure Start to 400,000 young
children, including 50 schemes in rural areas and pockets of

will also fund the creation and operation of children’s centres,
enabling an additional 300,000 children in disadvantaged areas to
access health, social care, education and other services alongside
some of the new child care places.

voluntary sector was another beneficiary of Brown’s spending spree.
The chancellor announced the creation of a new investment fund
worth £125m over the next three years to help overcome
barriers to effective service delivery, increase the scope and
scale of voluntary sector services, and modernise the sector. The
money comes on top of the £188m already promised to the Home
Office’s Active Community Unit over the next three

Resources were also allocated to
the neighbourhood renewal fund, which will rise from £300m
this year to £525m in 2005-6. In addition, budgets for
England’s nine regional development agencies will rise from
£1.6bn this year to £2bn in 2005-6 to boost work on
driving forward economic development and regeneration in the
regions. Reward grants worth a total of up to £635m over three
years for local authorities that achieve stretch targets set out
through local public services agreements will also be made

Home Office budget will rise from £10.7bn this year to
£13.5bn in 2005-6, with some going towards speeding up reforms
to the asylum system and crime reduction.

But it
was education that received the biggest boost this week: a real
terms increase of 6 per cent per year for the next three

that, income-related education maintenance allowances worth up to
£1,500 per year will be available to all 16 to 19-year-olds
from lower income families from September 2004. Money will also be
invested on pupil behaviour.

there are strings attached to all this new cash. The chancellor
countered his generosity with an emphasis on inspections and
targets, including a new round of departmental public service
agreements and the creation of the new health and social care
inspectorates, a single housing inspectorate, and a reformed
criminal justice system inspection regime.

secretary Alan Milburn will “shortly” be making an announcement on
how the extra resources for social services will be spent. However,
the new PSA signed by Milburn suggests that he will need to devote
at least some of it to mental health services for both adults and
children, home care services for older people, drug treatment
services, and services for looked-after children and care

Key targets

Department of Health

– Improved access to crisis and child and
adolescent mental health services.

– Increasing the number of older people
supported intensively to live at home.

– Narrowing the gap between the proportions of
children in care and their peers who are cautioned or

Home Office

– Reduce reoffending among young offenders by
5 per cent.

– Reduce the use of illicit drugs among all
young people.

– Ensure by 2004 that 75 per cent of
substantive asylum application are decided within two months.

– Increase voluntary and community sector
activity by 5 per cent by 2006.

Department for Education and

– Reduce truancies by 10 per cent compared
with 2002.

– Improve the basic skills of 1.5 million
adults by 2007.

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