Public Finance

Articles from April 2009

Almos 'Should Be Able to Borrow'
Council-owned housing companies have called on ministers to let them borrow money without government controls.In a report on the future of arm's-length management organisations, the National Federation of Almos said it was crucial that they had freedom...
A Mark of Quality
The CIPFA Practice Assurance Scheme, launched in 2008, has been designed to regulate self-employed CIPFA members who provide accountancy services to third parties. Approximately 350 members registered in 2008.The first quality assurance visits of these...
Appeal Court Backs Unison over Two Equal Pay Claims
Trade union Unison has won two public sector equal pay cases in the Court of Appeal, with implications for thousands of low-paid women.But Its solicitor has called for chances to the forthcoming Equaflty BMI to reduce the need for lengthy legal cases...
Care Homes Crisis Is Putting Pressure on Councils
The closure of recession-hit care homes for elderly and disabled people is placing increasing strain on councils, according to the Local Government Association.Privately run care homes, which most local authorities depend on to provide care services,...
CBI Welcomes Plan to Spread Cost of Rates
Scots business leaders have supported a decision by Finance Secretary John Swinney to spread the cost of a 5% increase in rates bills over three years.When the same policy was announced for England last week by Chancellor Alistair Darling, CBI Scotland...
Charities Call for Further Poverty Drive
Charities and campaigners have called on the government to take urgent action to prevent families sinking into poverty ahead of this month's Budget.Aid agency Oxfam, which is better known for its work overseas, has stepped up its campaigning on domestic...
Councils' Low Pay Offer Likely to Spark Parity Call
Experts have predicted that local government employers will face union arguments for parity with other public sector workers after making a pay offer of 0.5%.Unions reacted furiously to the offer, which is well below the 2.3% rise for MPs and increases...
Do Your Fol Duty, Watchdog Warns Public Bodies
Public bodies need to get their house in order on Freedom of Information or face tough enforcement action, the information commissioner has made clear.On April 3, the Information Commissioner s Office began a policy of actively checking to see whether...
Getting Personal
Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Opposition leader David Cameron have argued strongly in favour of more choice and control over services to individuals and communities.But the Guardian has recently unearthed a new scepticism. 'Forget personalisation',...
Government to Support Third Sector Campaigning
Ministers have launched a fund to help charities develop their campaigning abilities, it has emerged.The £750,000 fund, which will be run by the non-departmental public body Capacitybuilders, is to help small organisations develop 'innovative ways' of...
Growth Defects
Global economic growth is at its lowest level since shortly after the Second World War, and the UK economy is shrinking fast. This will be upmost in Chancellor Alistair Darling's mind when he puts the finishing touches to the 2009 Budget speech. He will...
In the Balance
In financial terms, uncertainty looks like being the dominant theme for the English NHS in 2009/10. These are, of course, uncertain times, and until the April 22 Budget announcement no-one will really know what the year has in store. It is, however,...
It's Good to Talk
When 'competitive dialogue' was introduced into the European Union's procurement rules in 2006, it represented a radical departure from the status quo. For the first time, contracting authorities were able to negotiate with bidders on complex projects...
Letters
Not light-touch, but right touchIn a recent Public Domain column, Colin Talbot discussed the prospects for light-touch regulation in the public sector ('Blew the light-touch paper', March 27-April 2). I feel it's time to shift the debate to a more informative...
Lord Best Named NI Housing Commission Chair
Lord Best is to chair a commission being set up to look into the future of housing in Northern Ireland.The commission, backed by the Northern Ireland Executive, will examine the role of housing in social and economic development following devolution...
Match of the Day
Public sector pay made a dramatic return as one of the nations favourite political footballs this week.Keen to talk tough on state excess , shadow chancellor George Osborne got things started with his suggestion that three-year pay deals for public sector...
NHS Faces £229M Loss in New ISTC Fiasco
The NHS will have to pay private health care firms £229m if contracts for the controversial independent sector treatment centres are not renewed, the government has admitted.Health minister Ben Bradshaw said that up to £176m would have to be paid out...
'No Better Time for Welsh Autonomy'
Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones has said the economic downturn presents an opportunity to argue for greater self-government in Wales.Jones, who is deputy first minister in the coalition Welsh Assembly Government told his party's spring conference...
Not an Urban Myth
For those children of Thatcherism fed on a diet of red-blooded capitalism, civic entrepreneurship indeed, anything reeking of public sector initiative - was seen as an oxymoron. The former prime minister decreed that councils had no business interfering...
People
MOVESTony Allen has been appointed finance director at National Museums Liverpool. He had been finance director at CAIP Telecom in Cheshire.Haydn Jones is assistant director of finance and performance at Swindon Primary Care Trust. He was previously...
Public Services Face Post-Recession Spending Squeeze
Most parts of the public sector could face five years of realterms cuts to restore the public finances after the recession, if the government chooses not to push taxes up.The grim forecast came from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. It said the government...
Round-Up
* Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has ordered an inquiry after widespread protests against the decision by Wirral Council to replace 11 public libraries with five multi-purpose buildings. The inquiry will consider whether the plans accord with the council's...
RSLs Call for More Leeway in Setting Rents
Housing associations should have more flexibility over the rents they charge tenants, large social landlords claimed this week.Although rents should continue to be based on local market prices, they should also reflect the size and quality of homes,...
Scots Best Value System Set for Shake-Up
A new method of reporting council performance, including the introduction of a grading or points system, is being considered by Scotland's public spending watchdog.The proposal is included in Audit Scotland's wide-ranging plans to reform the Best Value...
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