While education and health have struck gold, local government feels it will have to 'survive on scraps'. Paul Nelson reports
Chancellor Gordon Brown's Comprehensive Spending Review has created an equal measure of excitement and disappointment in the public sector.
Spending by government departments will rise by £61bn to £301bn by 2005/2006 - the biggest sustained increase in public expenditure for 30 years. While there is a growing expectation that it might lead to better schools and healthcare provision as well as safer streets, other sectors - particularly local government - feel they will miss out.
The Government has committed itself to improving the efficiency and quality of public services, so the extra cash is tied to reform, additional targets and checks on delivery.
Key HR issues, such as recruitment and retention, are at the forefront of this overhaul. The Government is trying to improve education, training and pay to increase the flow of talented staff into the public sector.
The funding and reforms - particularly in education - are aimed at supporting and improving the drive for increased productivity
Brown called on public sector employers to "demonstrate progress by 2006 on the government's long-term objective of raising the rate of UK productivity growth over the economic cycle".
So, which HR professionals will be the winners and the losers of the public spending review?
Education spending will rise by 6 per cent each year for the next three years to £58bn. The teaching of science - and, ultimately, the engineering and technology sectors - will benefit from an investment of £1.25bn over the next four years.
It is the largest sustained increase in spending for the sector in a decade, and the Government hopes it will boost the UK's economic performance and raise levels of innovation and growth.
New recommendations promoting the supply of skilled scientists and engineers will be implemented. These include: writing off student loans for maths and science teachers, and offering schools pay flexibility to attract and retain them; creating a national centre for excellence for science teaching, and giving teachers enhanced training opportunities; and paying undergraduates and post-graduates in science, maths and technology to work in schools, supporting teachers.