So, will Brown's strategy make a difference?

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Indy Politics

Rosemary Murphy

Chief executive, National Day Nurseries Association

We are delighted that Gordon Brown is committed to funding more childcare places and is piloting extending free nursery education to two-year-olds and has recognised the need for a long-term strategy. However, we must not end up with more childcare on the cheap, subsidised by the inevitable acceptance of low wages. Good-quality childcare needs investment.

Stephen Joseph

Director, Transport 2000

There's a lot to welcome for transport: some moves to improve and fund buses (an important but usually forgotten mode of transport), some serious money for rail and getting the Transport Department signed up to the target to cut climate change. But virtually the only specific project mentioned is the damaging and unjustified Thames Gateway Bridge, while all mention of rail freight has disappeared.

Nigel Edwards

Policy director of the NHS Confederation

The extra money is welcome. Waiting times for surgery have come down, but now the bottlenecks in diagnostic services and other areas such as physiotherapy will become obvious, and that's where the money will need to go. The problem the Government has is that as things get better, the expectations of frontline clinicians and patients will also increase.

Diana Garnham

Chief executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities

We welcome the charity support element in HEFCE's funding as a way of putting public-good research centre stage for universities. We see the decision as a huge vote of confidence in the way AMRC charities support science and research. I particularly welcome the flexibility of the new scheme which will enable all types of charities to partner and support innovative research.


Lead singer of U2 and spokesman for Data, the overseas aid charity

This is incredible news for people that the Chancellor will never meet but who will owe him and British taxpayers their lives. These figures represent people dying of Aids being put on treatment, their children being immunised against polio, their girls going to school who couldn't have gone before. It's serious money and it's smart money - the rise in Aids spending is critical.

Gareth Matthewson

Headteacher, Whitchurch High School in Cardiff

I support the expansion in early years education. Research shows youngsters are very receptive to learning at an early age. Money invested in early years is a good investment. You have to be sure that the education is appropriate. In Wales we have a programme called learning through play activities. It is no use sitting them down in rows and trying to use formal teaching methods.

Roger Putnam

Chairman, Ford Motor Company Limited

A strong and innovative scientific and engineering base is vital if this country is to become a focal point for high technology and high quality manufactured products. The UK has a strong scientific and engineering heritage but other nations have eclipsed us in these areas in recent decades. It is essential for our economic prosperity that we reconnect with this national strength.

Alison Kitson

Executive director for Nursing at the Royal College of Nursing

We welcome the Government's annual increase in spending of 7.1 per cent in the NHS. We are delighted that the Chancellor made reference to the important role that nurse practitioners are playing in reforming the NHS. The most effective way of delivering high-quality patient care is through multi-disciplinary healthcare teams working with each other as equals.

Richard Turner

Chief executive, Freight Transport Association

I am amazed by the Chancellor's statement. Promises to create a transport infrastructure to rival any in Europe have gone out the window. The Ten Year Transport Plan set up in 2000 was recognised in 2002 as needing a substantial increase in investment. The Chancellor has now not only failed to increase that commitment but has gone back on what he promised.

Francis Tusa

Editor of 'Defence Analysis' magazine

What they got out of the spending review was the best the Ministry of Defence could have hoped for, especially from a Chancellor who is known not to have much empathy with defence spending. The MoD has been putting out all kinds of gloomy predictions on what they could face, and, now they can present this as a great triumph. Defence had to fight very hard for what it got.

Peter Cardy

Chief executive, Macmillan

Cancer Relief

Of course it is important that the Government invests in defence but, equally, there should be no retreat on health. Real progress has been made in building better cancer services in partnership with people affected by cancer. It is vital that the significant

gains to both the NHS and patients, at minimal cost to the taxpayer, are not lost.

Anne Longfield

Chief executive of the charity 4Children

Previous chancellors have often focused on bricks and mortar as a way of regenerating the country, but this chancellor is putting people first - understanding that investing in childcare and wider children's services has a positive impact on the lives of children and parents. However, these need to be the starting points, not the end.

Mark Wood

Chairman of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council

It looks as if it's good news for museums. We've got the message across that Renaissance in the regions [the scheme to revitalise regional museums] is producing tangible results. We're meeting a lot of government targets in helping the education process and helping community regeneration ... We're very pleased the Treasury has recognised that.

Mike Aaronson

Director of Save the Children

This is a significant and welcome announcement. The increased aid in the next three years will deliver real help to the world's poorest people. If the Chancellor is committed to meeting the 0.7 target by 2013, this is a very positive step forward. We will be looking for a clear manifesto commitment to this effect later this year and will be pressing all political parties to do the same.

Jonathan Stearn

Director of End Child Poverty

The Government's spending review and child poverty review recognise the need for a UK-wide strategy if child poverty is to be ended in a generation. By increasing the number of new children's centres from 1,700 to 2,500, the Chancellor is acknowledging the need to act to support all children living in poverty, not just those in the most deprived areas.