Public Finance

Articles from March 2005

Council Tax Rises in London Are below National Average
London local authorities have set average Band D council tax increases below the national 4% rise, although six councils are risking the wrath of government with increases at or above the 5% threshold.A survey from the Association of London Government...
Errors Wipe out £500M Fraud Savings
A £500m reduction in benefit fraud by the Department for Work and Pensions has been wiped out by rising overpayments to claimants, the DWP's permanent secretary admitted to MPs this week.Sir Richard Mottram was forced to acknowledge that the DWP still...
Events
MarchMARCH 15CIPFA seminar - Health finance: technical developments in NHS financeSpeakers include: Hugh Groves, director of finance, East Devon Primary Care Trust; Jo Whitehead, Department of Health; and Bob Dredge, programme manager for financial reforms...
Executive Clears Services for Big Take-Off
Scotland's devolved administration has shown how it intends to keep right on to the end of the road - and how much the journey is likely to cost Scottish taxpayers.The Executive's first infrastructure investment plan, welcomed by business and local authority...
FDA Wants Salary Rise to Iron out Disparities in Pay
Senior civil servants have called for another large rise in basic pay, despite proposals to increase salaries by up to 15% by 2006.The FDA union, which represents senior Whitehall staff, this week revealed it wants ministers to address the disparity...
Glad to Be Sad
As a general election looms ominously on the horizon, we are being invited to consider what is at stake. There are a lot of things that politics might be for and about.It might be about protection and security against terrorists, it might be about prosperity,...
Government Departments Drag Their Feet over Relocation Initiative
Plans to move 20,000 civil service posts out of London have become bogged down in 'cynicism, opportunism and foot dragging', a new report suggests.A study by the consultancy Governetz calls on ministers to hand control of the relocation initiative to...
HE Funding Squeeze Reignites Top-Up Fee Fury
University teachers and lecturers could be facing below-inflation salary increases following a settlement that increases core funding by just 1%, the higher education sector has warned.The Higher Education Funding Council for England has increased the...
Homestake Scheme Launched to Help Scots First-Time Buyers
Public money is to be used to help first-time homebuyers in Scotland.Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm this week announced what he described as an innovative shared ownership scheme that will help people on low incomes who are unable to pay the full...
James Savings Are Realistic, Says Osborne
Conservative efficiency plans are robust and the full financial burdens of scrapping 168 quangos and laying off 235,000 staff have been built into the party's £35bn savings target, according to George Osborne.In an interview with Public Finance, the...
Letters
Zen and the art of supercitiesI'm afraid I can't see the beef in Professor Gerry Stoker's beefed-up image of local government ('Super-sizing the cities', March 4-10).It is fine to propose geographically augmented authorities, but Stoker's ideal local...
'Limit Growth' on Private Care in NHS
Doctors have warned that limits must be set on the health service's use of the private sector, putting them in direct opposition to both Labour and the Conservatives.Launching Labours minimanifesto on health this week. Prime Minister Tony Blair announced...
Major Report on Health Service Finances Could Be Delayed until after Election
A major report into the financial health of the NUS by two senior government watchdogs might be held back until after the general election, it emerged this week.As Labour and the Conservatives increasingly made health their election battleground, the...
Meet the Osborne
George Osbome leans forward in his chair and declares earnestly: 'We set David James a very important remit right at the beginning, which was that we do not want to see any damage to frontline public services.'We do not want to see schools shutting,...
MPs Slam On-Line Degree Course's £50M Failure
Senior MPs have condemned the government's on-line degree scheme as a 'disgraceful waste' of tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money.A probe by the Commons education select committee found that, at a cost of £44,000 per student, studying with...
New Kid on the Block
The number of council houses managed at arm's length' has just caught up with the total that has been transferred to housing associations. So the transfer option, the measure that was set to change the face of council housing 17 years ago, now has a...
On Closer Inspection
Panic. 'Pot Noodle Shocker'. Students from Cornwall to Caernafon spluttered over their morning Pot, as headlines about the carcinogenic effects of the illegal Sudan-1 dye whizzed around the world. Who would have thought Worcestershire sauce could be...
Party Agrees Strike Ban for Vital Services
Strike action that threatens to damage the UK economy or bring public services to a grinding halt would be outlawed under a new policy approved by the conference.Although the party ruled out a ban on the right to strike, it does want ministers to be...
Plan to Supersize Audit Commission
The Liberal Democrats are airring to slash the number of public sector inspectorates and load their responsibilities on to the Audit Commission.Ed Davey, who shadows the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for the LibDems, told Public Finance that the...
Private Developers to Compete with RSLs for Grants
Private developers and other bodies that get the go-ahead to join a £200m social housing programme will automatically be permitted to compete with registered social landlords for larger grants later this year, the Housing Corporation has confirmed.A...
Round-Up
Over half of all local authorities now have a procurement team led by a professional head, a progress report on the national procurement strategy has found. Since 2000, the number of councils using purchasing consortiums has risen from 67% to 83%, and...
Shock and Awe
It was a symbolic moment. Great Ormond Street Hospital - one of the most renowned children's hospitals in the world - announced it was closing one in live beds and cancelling operations, in a desperate attempt to balance its books.The news came at the...
Wheels within Wheels
Hardly a week now passes without some minister hunkered down in parliamentary disaster. Before Christmas, it was poor David Lammy standing like jelly in a storm at the very end of the progress of the Mental Capacity Bill through the Commons while, over...
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