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BROWN MAY RELAX 'GOLDEN RULES' ON SPENDING

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Gordon Brown, the chancellor, is set to break one of the government's key spending commitments in the run-up to the...
Gordon Brown, the chancellor, is set to break one of the government's key spending commitments in the run-up to the next election, according to The Times (p1).

Mr Brown has decided to relax his strictures to allow main departments to appeal for more money next spring.

The proposed new spending round - which will affect departmental spending in 2001-2002, the most likely date of the next election - comes a year after the chancellor explicitly ruled out deviating from agreed spending targets before 2002.

The plans were immdediately attacked by opposition parties, which accused Mr Brown of jeopardising long-term stability for short-term election bribes.

But treasury sources last night tried to play down any suggestion of extra spending in 2001-2001 and said that the 'presumption' would be that each department would stick to the totals given for that year.

According to Whitehall sources, however, health and education will be among the main beneficiaries of any new spending round.

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