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Tuesday, 18 July, 2000, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
Spending increase for Scotland
Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown pledged more money for services
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, has announced an increase in public spending in Scotland from next year.

Announcing details of the UK-wide Comprehensive Spending Review, Mr Brown said Scotland would receive 3.4bn, an increase of 4.4%, over the next three years.

The chancellor promised an extra 43bn of investment in the UK and said the aim was to instigate a "step change" in government spending on education, science, the police, health and transport.

Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell: "People's priorities"

The decision on how to spend the money in Scotland lies with Scottish Executive ministers and Finance Minister, Jack McConnell, immediately stated that "front-line services" would be the priority in his autumn spending announcement.

He said: "Our priorities for this new investment - the people's priorities - will encompass further improvements in health and measures to rid our society of the evils of drugs, together with sustained long-term investment in the infrastructure of our education and public transport systems.

"There are many other areas which will benefit through our budget process later in the summer, but these core areas will top our list."

Scottish Secretary, Dr John Reid, said: "This spending review demonstrates the government's commitment to provide an opportunity for everyone to fulfil their potential through education and employment; to promote a fair and inclusive society in which communities are healthy and secure; and facilitates sustained economic growth and investment in infrastructure."

'Electoral chances'

However, opposition parties have accused Labour of seeking to bribe the people of Scotland ahead of the general election.

The Scottish National Party said the impact of any reforms would be diluted by the length of time taken to implement the plans.

Westminster parliamentary group leader, Alasdair Morgan MP, said: "Any increase is better than no increase but all I'm saying is it will take a lot to make up for what hasn't been spent over the last few years.

"I think in terms of Labour's electoral chances, it will take quite a long time before that (money) actually delivers in terms of real services that people can recognise.

"What they're seeing just now is higher petrol tax, higher council tax , higher taxes in general and I don't think they're very impressed with that."

David McLetchie
David McLetchie: "Fantastic claims"

Scottish Conservative Leader, David McLetchie, said: "I think the public will be baffled, quite frankly, by these fantastic claims of extra spending.

"They've heard this all before from Gordon Brown and Jack McConnell and all the other Labour ministers who claim to be spending more and yet they see public services going down in terms of waiting lists are up, crime is up, class sizes are up.

"All these things are part of people's everyday experiences. Things are getting worse, they're not getting better and people are paying higher taxes."

The Scottish Liberal Democrats, Labour's partners in the coalition administration, said there would be a "thorough debate" in the Scottish Parliament on how the money would be spent.

Westminster correspondent David Porter
"Gordon Brown said past prudence would allow ministers to loosen the purse strings"
Finance Minister Jack McConnell
"It's not about bribery, it's about delivering real improvements in services"

Brown graphicSpending boost
Brown finds 43bn in election war chest
See also:

18 Jul 00 | CSR
18 Jul 00 | CSR
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