Investment in health services in 2010-11 will increase by more than 5 per cent, Chancellor Alistair Darling has confirmed.

The investment will be accompanied by an additional £5bn of efficiency savings, on top of the planned £30bn in the same period, Mr Darling said in his Budget speech this afternoon.

He said: “We will protect investment in schools, hospitals and other key public services – and we will work to rebuild our financial services.”

Budget decisions had been guided by the “core values of fairness and opportunity – and our determination to invest and grow our way out of recession,” he said.

Recovery

He forecast the economy would grow by 1.25 per cent in 2010 and 3.5 per cent after 2011.

In future years he said the economy would recover to grow at around 2.75 per cent.

Inflation is expected to continue “coming down sharply”, reaching 1 per cent by the end of this year.

Retail price index inflation is forecast to remain negative, falling to –3 per cent by September, before moving back above 0 per cent next year.

Mr Darling said despite the tough economic conditions in the world economy, cutting public services would be “the wrong thing to do”.

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