Published: 11/4/2002, Volume II2, No. 5800 Page 6

The NHS Confederation and the Local Government Association have sent a joint letter to health secretary Alan Milburn in advance of the Budget, calling for 'increased and sustained' funding for personal social services.

It urges Mr Milburn to correct the 'imbalance' between NHS and social care funding, warning that otherwise 'problems will be seen in the NHS and the modernisation agenda will be slowed'.

The letter says: 'The Confederation knows from its recent soundings in the NHS that funding for social services - for both children and older people - is one of the top priorities for NHS management. We know investment in local authority social services can have an immediate effect and maximum benefit.'

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants has called for a 10-year plan to bring UK health expenditure up to 8.5 per cent of GDP, and an increase in IT spending from 1.5 per cent to 4 per cent of trusts' budgets over three years.