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Brown hints at windfall to come

There could be more money for health and education during the last half of this Parliament, the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, suggested last night.

As he announced the biggest monthly repayment of public sector debt on record, he said the Government's toughness over public spending had a purpose. "It is toughness so that we can get the long term and substantial improvements in health and education in particular that we want to see," he told the Financial Times.

He said he was determined not to make the mistake of previous Labour governments, which spent money in their first two years and then had to retrench in the run-up to a general election. Schools and hospitals would have to compete with one another for the extra cash, he suggested.