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[21 MAR 00] NATIONAL GOVERNMENT NEWS
Hospitals Get Welcome Budget Boost

Hospitals in Coventry and Warwickshire were looking forward to finding how much they will receive of the 23 billion shot in the arm announced in today’s budget.

The Chancellor Gordon Brown, HM GovernmentThe Chancellor Gordon Brown revealed that NHS spending would be increased by 6.1 per cent a year above inflation for the next four years.

This would take spending from the current 45 billion to over 68 billion by 2004 – the equivalent of 2,800 per household.

Further details of modernisation plans for the NHS will be announced by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, later this week.

Other features of the budget included a pledge of cash for more books and equipment in schools.

Primary schools are to get between 3,000 and 9,000 each, while large secondary schools will receive up to 50,000 as part of a 31 billion increase for education.

Speaking for just over 51 minutes, Mr Brown told a packed House of Commons that the money would go straight to the headteachers.

Other measures included a 280 million rise for transport and 285 million extra in the fight against crime.

Lone parents were offered more help in getting back to work and the New Deal will be extended to unemployed adults next year.

The winter fuel allowance for pensioners will rise by nearly a third to 150 and the threshold for pensioners receiving income support will rise. They will now be allowed to have savings of up to 12,000 and still be able to claim support.

Cigarettes are to go up by 25p a pack, with all the proceeds going to the health service. Beer will rise by a penny a pint, wine by 4p a bottle but there will be no change in the cost of spirits.

Petrol duty has been increased by 2p a litre to match inflation and car excise duty has been frozen, while some lorry duties will fall.

Mr Brown also pledged help for firms that want to get involved in e-commerce, with measures to allow all costs for new equipment to be written off against tax.

The capital gains rates for business assets will fall from 40 per cent to 35 per cent from 6 April, with the rate falling to 10 per cent in four years. Companies that return tax forms on-line will also receive bonuses.

He said:

"Britain is now the place for companies to start, to invest, to grow and to expand."

SEE: [21 MAR 00] WARWICK PROFESSOR SLAMS BUDGET
  

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CWN / Politics / Government / 21 Mar 00

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