Public Finance

Articles from March 2009

A Bold Blueprint for the Future of Elderly Care?
More than 150 compact redbrick bungalows are clustered around quiet drives edged with neat grass verges and pretty flowerbeds. It could be any well-kept housing estate. What marks this community out as different is that it represents a model of social...
Caledonian Consensus
The middle of a massive debt crisis micht not seem the most obvious moment to call for more borrowing, but in the Scottish Parliament there has been something of a breakthrough in the long-running debate about fiscal autonomy and the Barnett Formula....
Charity Lists Urgent Social Care Reforms
The government came under pressure this week to take urgent action to make the social care system fairer and more sustainable.A report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation charity, published on March 4, outlined four costed reforms the government could...
Councils Need to Invest More in Websites
Councils could save money and improve services by investing more in their websites, experts have said.A survey by the Society of Information Technology Management found local authority websites were steadily improving and were out performing their central...
Councils Reach New Peak as Inspection Changes Gear
The Comprehensive Performance Assessment regime came to an end on a high this week, with record numbers of councils achieving the top four-star rating.The final set of CPA results, published by the Audit Commission on March 5, showed that 62 councils...
Get Ready for Big Cuts, Bundred Warns Public Sector
Public sector managers need to prepare for significant cuts in public spending now, the chief executive of the Audit Commission has warned.In an interview with Public Finance, Steve Bundred predicted 'substantial public spending cuts' would result from...
Letters
You can e-mail your letters to letterstoeditoni>put)licfinance.co.uk or fax them to: 020 7543 5793. Please include your name and address and a daytime phone number. The editor reserves the right to edit lettersThe numbers don't add upI have to say...
LGA Says Job Cuts Will Fund Acas Pay Award
Council leaders have warned that jobs will be axed to fund the extra 0.3% pay increase for staff imposed by arbitration service Acas.Local government employers and unions had agreed to binding arbitration by Acas in the dispute over last year's pay claim,...
Local Authority Leaders Publish Top Pay Figures
Council leaders have responded to the growing political pressure about their salary levels by publishing figures to demonstrate they are paid less than their private sector counterparts.According to research by the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives...
MPs Slate DCLG's 'Decidedly Unimpressive Performance'
The Department for Communities and Local Government hiis been strongly criticised by MPs for failing to implement its major policies effectively.The annual report of the communities and local government select committee, published on March 4, concluded...
Put to the Test
The Comprehensive Performance Assessment is dead. Long live the Comprehensive Area Assessment.When the CPA began, back in 2002, it represented an entirely new approach to judging how well a council was doing its many jobs. Audit Commission inspectors...
Roundup
* The Healthcare Commission has praised the treatment of military personnel injured on the front line as 'exceptional' and rehabilitation services as 'excellent'. But the commission was critical of standards at military health care units. Describing...
Running on Empty
Whitehall is always said to work best during a crisis. This theory is now being frantically put to the test at the Treasury as it battles against the worst financial crisis in 70 years and a major and deepening recession in the real economy. But doubts...
Scotland Could Gain Borrowing Powers but Lose Grant
Loading public finance experts have warned that Scotland's block grant from Westminster could be cut if Holyrood were given new powers to borrow.In evidence submitted this week to the Calman Commission, which is examining the future of devolution, CIPFA...
Separated by a Common Problem
UK and US cities face many similar problems, such as poor quality housing, deprived neighbourhoods anc stark inequalities.The responses of the two countries to these challenges reflect major differences in history, racial and ethnic diversity, and the...
The Watchman
It's been another knockabout week at the Treasury, what with frantic negotiations over Operation Broom', the £500bn state-backed insurance scheme designed to sweep up the banks' toxic assets - and the argybargy over former Royal Bank of Scotland boss...
Treasury to Grab Unspent Capital Funds for PFI Rescue Scheme
The Treasury Is to daw back unspent Whitehall capital budgets to help baH out stalled Private Finance Initiative projects.Chief Secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper announced that the government would lend money to PFI projects, many of which have...
Unison Claims Essex Move Is Illegal
Trade union Unison has claimed that Essex County Council's plan to outsource 'any or all' of its services in a £5.4bn deal is illegal on nine different counts.The union has written to Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears and the district auditor to...
University Funding Rises to £8Bn
Government grants for universities will rise by 4.1% this year to almost £8bn, with the highest increases aimed at those institutions providing world-leading research.The Higher Education Funding Council for England announced its recurrent grants for...
Wales Launches £7M Neet Project
The Welsh Assembly Government has announced that £7m will be used to prevent teenagers falling oui; of education and training or becoming unemployed.In a pioneering use of European Union funding, the initiative labelled Pre-Vent - will use almost £4m...
Waste Authority Could Pay More for PFI Scheme
Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority has authorised its officials to pay more than originally planned as it struggles to sign off its £4.6bn Private Finance Initiative scheme.The authority was also set to raise its borrowing limits for the next...
Whitehall's Warning of Woe
The media Is full of gloomy stories about budget cutbacks and redundancies as the economy worsens. But the crunch period is not going to be now, or even over the next few months, but most likely in over a year's time after the next general election.For...
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