Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : The Government is Delivering on its Spending Promises [December 1997]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 10 December 1997.

Up to date figures show that the Government is delivering on  ts spending promises by reallocating money to key priority areas, while sticking to the Control Total figures for this year and next, Chief Secretary Alistair Darling confirmed today.

He commented:

” We promised to stick to the existing spending ceilings for the first two years of this Parliament and that is what we are doing, whilst redirecting resources to key areas such as hospitals and schools as we said we would. This is a Government which is keeping its promises by making a substantial difference to the pattern and direction of public expenditure, while putting the public finances on a sound footing.”

Detailed figures contained in a written Parliamentary Answer show that the Government has already provided:

  • an extra 1 billion Pounds for schools next year;
  • an extra 1.2 billion Pounds for the NHS next year;
  • an extra 300 million Pounds for patient care in the NHS this winter, paid for by switching savings from the Defence budget and from the nuclear industry, and from efficiency savings; and
  • 190 million Pounds this year and next, to provide all pensioner households with a winter fuel bonus, paid for from savings on our net contributions to the European Union.

The Government has also fulfilled its commitments to fund key priorities by transferring resources from programmes which benefited only the few to those that benefit the many:

  • it has passes legislation to phase out the Assisted Places Scheme, releasing money to cut class sizes to 30 or less for all five, six and seven-year-olds; and
  • the Nursery Vouchers scheme will be ended from April 1998, releasing money for new local partnerships to deliver a nursery place for all four-year-olds.
  • 100 million Pounds has been saved from NHS red tape for front line patient care, 10 million Pounds of which is going to ensure that all women have speedy access to breast cancer services. There will be more savings next year.

In addition to this spending within the Control Total, the Windfall Tax on the profits of the privatised utilities will fund the key elements of the Government’s Welfare to Work
programme over the lifetime of this Parliament:

  • 3.1 billion Pounds for the New Deal for Young People to  give every young person who has been unemployed for six months the opportunity to work or train
  • 400 million Pounds for the New Deal for the Long Term Unemployed to give new opportunities to every person unemployed for two years;
  • 1.3 billion Pounds for the New Deal for Schools, funding a programme of investment in new technology and repairing school buildings;
  • 225 million Pounds for the New Deal for Lone Parents; and
  • 195 million Pounds for the New Deal for the Long Term Sick and Disabled.

The Chief Secretary gave details of the spending plans for each Department within the Control Total in answer to a Parliamentary Question from Stephen Timms MP. A copy of the Question and Answer are attached.