Our Budget 2008 Report (PDF), released shortly before the Budget, set out how a range of public services - particularly education, health and law and order - had achieved very little improvement in standards despite vast increases in funding. What these services need isn't yet more resources but to be set free of control by politicians.
Now, the Telegraph reports that another service appears to have made poor use of increases in funding, it seems quite probable that a lack of improvement in schools has also affected this as too few pupils are ready for university education:
"According to the official data, 39.8 per cent of 17 to 30-year-olds in England went to university last year, compared with 39.2 per cent in 1999..
Last year, almost £2.2 billion was spent trying to attract and retain undergraduates, with money going on school outreach projects, bursaries for sixth-formers and student support programmes to stop them dropping out.
Ministers insist that the money has been well-spent as record numbers of British students are now applying to university.
But these rises have been achieved largely through population growth. In terms of percentages, numbers have barely increased."