In his 11th budget speech today chancellor Gordon Brown announced the 'biggest cash increase ever' in the NHS.

Mr Brown announced an£8bn investment - a 10 per cent cash rise - in the NHS and stated that the 2007 budget was, 'a budget for British families, for.fairness and for the future'. It will be the final year of the current comprehensive spending review period.

Conservative leader David Cameron was quick to criticise the move stating: 'There was barely a mention of the NHS. All he has mentioned is this year's money, which we already knew. At the heart of this budget is the failure to fix the NHS.'

He added: '[There has been a] bonanza of spending on the NHS but nurses are being sacked.'

The chancellor stated that the British economy was growing faster than all the other G7 economies and that growth would continue. He.added that before 1997, the UK was bottom of the world's seven riches nations but now it was second only to the US.

He cut the basic rate of income tax from 22p to 20p in the pound stating it was the lowest basic rate for 75 years.

Alcohol duties will rise in line with inflation, with the exception of spirits, where duty was frozen. Cigarette prices would increase in line with inflation, but VAT on anti-smoking devices would be cut to 5 per cent, Mr Brown.announced.

The£40 per week in-work bonus for lone parents will be extended to£60 in London, and access to free childcare will be extended, the chancellor told MPs.

On poverty reduction, Mr Brown announced that£800m would be allocated to the environmental transformation fund.

The need to reduce emissions was given considerable coverage in the budget and Mr Brown said that grants for microgeneration will be increased by 50 per cent and that he had asked the EU to consider allowing a cut in VAT on environmentally efficient products to 5 per cent.

The landfill tax will rise by£8 while the aggregates levy would rise to£165 per tonne.

All these changes would cut carbon emissions by 16 million tonnes, Mr Brown.said.

The chancellor rejected Conservative plans to reward marriage, arguing that it would exclude the vast majority of married couples in the UK and 11 million children. He said that marriages were recognised through capital gains and inheritance tax exemptions.

The chancellor.stated that the best way to help families with children was to raise child benefit by 15 per cent to£20 per week for the first child by 2010.

Help for the poorest children would rise to£75 per week by 2010, Mr Brown announced, claiming that this would lift 200,000 out of poverty.

The effective point at which a family paid income tax would rise until earnings reached£450 per week by 2010, the chancellor told the Commons.