Confidence in public services could well decline following the government's autumn spending round, new president of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy John Butler has warned.

If the comprehensive spending review, due in October, is as tight as predicted, any resulting fall in public sector staff morale will almost certainly have a knock-on effect on public confidence, Mr Butler told delegates at CIPFA's annual conference in Bournemouth.

Mr Butler said: 'One of the most pressing issues for the new prime minister and his chancellor will be the new comprehensive spending review, which is going to be very tough compared to the very generous settlements of the past few years.'

He said that he thought it was a 'fair cop' to criticise the NHS 2005-06 results, which he said revealed a worrying level of overspending.

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