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Monday, 29 May, 2000, 03:03 GMT 04:03 UK
Brown 'plans 40bn boost'
The May Day riots in London required heavy numbers of police
Some of the money is tipped to go on crime-fighting
Chancellor Gordon Brown is reported to be planning a 40bn increase in spending on public services to give Labour a knockout punch for the next election.

Mr Brown is already committed to spending an extra 13bn on the health service in 2003/4, the third year of the Treasury's current review of future expenditure.

But according to The Times newspaper, the chancellor has decided to devote at least 28bn more in the same year to increases for other departments.

The news comes after a week of policy battles between Labour and the Conservatives, covering issues as diverse as Oxbridge admissions and increases in the state pension.

13bn has already been earmarked for health
On Saturday a leaked memo, drawn up by the prime minister's polling expert, warned that some Labour voters were disillusioned with the government's progress on health, education and law and order.

Departments covering those areas are tipped to be the major beneficiaries of Mr Brown's plans, along with transport, welfare and the New Deal.

But in return for the extra expenditure, Whitehall departments will have to agree to stringent conditions to raise the standards of the worst hospitals and education authorities, according to "informed sources" quoted in the paper.

The additional spending would allow ministers to reassure voters, in the run-up to the general election, that significant improvements to public services were in the pipeline.

At the same time, Labour will be anxious that the City is not left with the feeling that the government is loosening its tight control on public spending.

Ministers will argue that the new spending will not take Mr Brown outside the Budget framework, which foresaw a growth of 2.5% in current spending and a doubling of capital investment.

A Whitehall source has described the 28bn figure for extra spending as "speculative".

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