Chancellor announces £1.5 billion boost for children`s services

The chancellor announced a £61 billion increase for
improved public services by 2005/6 in the comprehensive spending
review on Monday – including £1.5 billion for child care
initiatives, writes Clare

Chancellor Gordon Brown promised that every three and four year
old who wanted a nursery place would have one by October 2004, Sure
Start would be expanded to meet the needs of up to 400,000
children, and an additional 250,000 childcare places would be made
available. New children’s centres offering a focal point for
children’s services to 300,000 children would be developed by

Praising the work of the voluntary sector, Brown said voluntary
organisations were to be given a three-year fund of £125m to
draw on for their public service work. The budget for the
Children’s Fund will also increase to £200m a year to
2006, and £20m a year for the next three years to community
sports clubs

Young and adult unemployed, lone parents and disabled people
seeking work will benefit from the nationwide roll-out of the
one-stop service Jobcentre Plus scheme by 2006

England’s 88 most deprived areas will benefit from the
increase in the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund from £300m this
year to £525m a year by 2005/6.

Brown promised £13.5 billion by 2005/6 to the Home Office,
to be used to speed up the asylum system, boost police numbers, and
help the criminal justice system tackle both crime and the causes
of crime.

He also announced the creation of four new inspectorates: a
health inspectorate, a social care inspectorate, a reformed
criminal justice system inspection regime, and a single housing

But Brown said that failing institutions will be dealt with
early and decisively. Failing social services and housing
departments face the imposition of new directors and senior
managers while local authorities in trouble will be subject to a
recovery plan, with the possibility of new managers if that fails.
Under-performing prisons also face new management.

The chancellor stressed, however, that high performing public
service providers would be given more resources and more authority
to innovate.

“But in every case at the same time we will also incentivise and
reward success with high performing institutions receiving new
resources and greater autonomy – new freedoms and more
flexibility,” he said.

For more given in resources more is required in results,” he

Education was the main winner in the comprehensive spending
review. Funding will increase from £45 billion in 2002 to
£58 billion in 2005/6. This compares to £29 billion in
1997 when Labour came to power.

“Education, education, education,” Brown said, adding that the
aim would be to raise standards in schools, enhance choice and
diversity and tackle poor pupil behaviour in secondary schools.

He added that by September 2004, all young people who stay on in
education will have access to an income-related Education
Maintenance Allowance, worth up to £1500 a year per

But that matches the health and social care spending announced
in the Budget in April, with a 7.4 per cent average annual real
terms growth in UK NHS spending for five years. To show the
government’s commitment to social care, 6 per cent a year
real terms growth in resources for personal social services in
England over the next three years was announced.

The chancellor said that on Thursday the deputy prime minister
will make an announcement on reforms for housing. This will include
new homes for social tenants and key workers, including low cost
homes in London and the south-east, and plans to tackle
homelessness. To pay for this, £5.9 billion a year will be
invested by 2005/6.

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