Children again featured prominently in the budget, with
education high up the agenda. Chancellor Gordon Brown said the
government wants children to start education at three, and for nine
out of 10 young people to continue in education or training until
From next year, help with early learning will be offered in
every area for all children who need it, with extra funding for
Sure Start and the National Parenting Fund.
More cash will go to rebuild and refurbish primary schools, to
help them provide the new services in ‘extended
schools’ that will open from 8am to 6pm. Further education
colleges will also receive money for refurbishment and more cash
will go to information technology in primary and secondary schools.
Other pledges on education include incentives to encourage
teenagers to stay at school or in full time training.
Families on low incomes will benefit from an increase in child
tax credit and child benefit in line with earnings. And the
government will now consult on extending the child trust fund to
include payments in secondary school years, said Mr Brown. Under
the scheme, announced two months’ ago, every child born after
31 August 2002 will receive a cash payment at birth and a second on
the child’s seventh birthday.
Other measures announced include the creation of a new national
community service for young people to recruit up to one million
young volunteers to work on projects at home and abroad, and the
merging of the health and social care inspectorates. The Commission
for Social Care and Inspection, which started operating last April,
will lose its inspection of children’s services to Ofsted,
the schools inspectorate