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Sunday, 14 July, 2002, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Brown finalises 90bn spending plan
Tony Blair with schoolchildren
Blair has pledged more cash for schools
Chancellor Gordon Brown is putting the finishing touches to his plans for government spending - with schools and colleges, the NHS, defence and transport all set to benefit.

Education is expected to be the main focus of an announcement which Tony Blair has said marks a "defining" moment for his government as he seeks to improve public services.

Top tips
Record rise in education funding
Details of extra NHS cash
More money for defence
Extra 3bn for rail repairs
Cash to revive farming
House-building programme
An extra 90bn has been earmarked for public spending over the next three years, with ministers set to hear on Monday what their share of the cash will be.

But opposition leaders say the government must do more to deliver improvements in services.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn underlined on Sunday that schools and universities are set to benefit from the spending review.

He said that with more cash now being directed at the health service - as signalled by Mr Brown in his Budget - the time was right to increase investment in education.

Other winners are expected to be transport, with more money earmarked for repairs to the ailing rail system, and defence.

Pet project

The increase in defence spending is set to help the department following the increased pressures caused by September 11.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown will unveil plans on Monday
There is also speculation that Home Secretary David Blunkett has won a battle to secure more cash for the fight against crime.

More cash for farming and overseas aid - one of Mr Brown's pet projects - are also likely to be signalled by the chancellor in his Commons statement on Monday.

Targets

There is also likely to be an announcement on a publicly-funded house-building project to provide more affordable housing.

I think the time is now right to do for education what we have done for health

Alan Milburn
Health Secretary

Mr Brown will set out a range of performance targets and independent auditing in return for the budget increases.

The prime minister, who is at his country residence, Chequers, has already said that billions of pounds will be used to fund the boldest education reforms for 50 years.

The chancellor announced in the Budget that health spending is to rise by more than 7% a year over the next five years.

Growing

Speaking on BBC One's Breakfast with Frost, Mr Milburn said: "The National Health Service is going to be getting more money for a longer period of time than it's ever had before.

We alone will provide the real reform that we need so badly

Michael Howard

"I think the time is now right to do for education what we have done for health, and that is to commit a growing proportion of the country's national wealth to education and get our spending there up to or even beyond the European Union average."

But on the same programme, shadow chancellor Michael Howard said "real reform" of public services needed to come alongside extra cash.

He said the Conservatives would not pledge to match government funding because "a different approach" was needed in order to deliver world class health and education.

'Open mind'

The Tories would not be "mesmerised" by the government's spending plans, he said.

Michael Howard, shadow chancellor
Howard: Money alone not the answer
"When we've produced our policies we will spell out to people how much they will cost and how we are going to pay for them," he said.

"We recognise that people deserve better from their public services than they are getting.

"Unlike the other parties we have an open mind about how to reform them. We alone will provide the real reform that we need so badly."

'Over-centralised'

Mr Kennedy, also on Breakfast with Frost, said he welcomed increased cash for public services, saying his party had long argued for such action.

But he added: "We actually want to see that investment being delivered.

"I am not sure that the over-centralised tendencies of Gordon Brown are going to produce that."

He said he would be floating the idea of a specific tax earmarked for the health service "so that people see where the money is coming from and see what it is being deployed in favour of".

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Evan Davis
"No department should suffer a budget cut"
The BBC's Mark Mardell
"If it does not work, the Labour government has nowhere left to hide"
Sunday Express political editor Julia Hartley-Brewer
"It's not clear that we are going to get the reforms which Labour has promised"
The government's plans for future spending are published on 15 July

Key stories

At the sharp end

Analysis

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AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

14 Jul 02 | Business
12 Jul 02 | Business
14 Jul 02 | Education
10 Jul 02 | Politics
14 Jul 02 | Business
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