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From the Archive - 25 May 1973: An earlier Tory Chancellor also prioritised education while slashing public spending

How Barber axe will fall

How Barber axe will fall

The educational building programme was spared the axe when Mr Anthony Barber, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced cuts of #163;600 million in public spending over the next two years. But education is still likely to be under some pressure because local authorities will have to reduce their current expenditure by #163;30 million.

The cuts, designed to prevent the current economic boom from overheating, remove #163;100 million in 197374 and #163;500 million the year after. Hardest hit will be the road programme (#163;100 million) and aid to nationalized industries (#163;140 million). Defence loses #163;50 million and agriculture #163;25 million.

Mr Barber told the Commons that there will be no reduction in building programmes for schools, hospitals, old people's homes, local health and social services. This means the Government's priority on education and social services will be strengthened relative to the rest of planned public spending. However, in some areas it could suffer because local authorities have discretion over how they cut their budgets by #163;130 million.

The bulk, #163;100 million, will be saved on local government miscellaneous services, which might affect libraries. Another #163;30 million will have to come from ordinary current expenditure, and rate support grant negotiations in the autumn will assume that these cuts have been made.

In addition, #163;20 million will be saved by switching the costs of industrial training. The plans for meeting the expenditure out of Government funds instead of levies will be deterred for eight months. However, an extra #163;6 million will be added to keep up the momentum of the programme.

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