Chancellor Alistair Darling has pledged spending increases for the “frontline NHS” for two years from 2011.

In his pre-Budget speech, Mr Darling said: “I am today able to offer guaranteed minimum real terms increases in spending on frontline NHS and schools for two years from 2011.

“This means I can confirm not just that we will increase spending as planned next year, in hospitals, schools and policing.

“But we can also pledge that spending on these crucial frontline services will continue to rise, over and above inflation, after 2010-11, so that we can meet the improved public service guarantees and entitlements we have set out.”