Public Finance

Articles from March 2006

Call for Better Care for Stroke Patients
The care and rehabilitation of stroke patients outside hospital must be improved, the Healthcare Commission said this week.It called for a renewed drive for better services after surveying 875 patients following their stroke. The condition causes 10%...
Campbell Slams Labour's Failure on Child Poverty
Labour has failed on welfare reform and created worse child poverty than existed 50 years ago, new Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell told the conference.In his first speech as leader, Campbell said: 'Labour's record on social justice is a...
Centres of Attention
It is almost 20 years since Margaret Thatcher, on the morning of her third election victory in 1987, stood on the staircase of Central Office in London and said: 'We must do something about those inner cities.'What she meant, of course, was to stop the...
Crisp Quits amid 'Confusion' at the Top of DoH
Sir Nigel Crisp's resignation as permanent secretary at the Department of Health followed a breakdown in relations between ministers and senior civil servants, documents obtained by Public Finance reveal.Crisp has been widely blamed for escalating NHS...
Divided Loyalties
If a week is a long time in politics, then six months is a lifetime in the health service. J ,ast summer, Sir Nigel Crisp was a strong contender for the job of Cabinet secretary; now he faces retirement, amid growing criticism over the state of the NHS's...
DWP Just Misses Child Poverty Targets
The government narrowly failed to meet its ambitious target to reduce child poverty by a quarter by 2005, but senior sources are confident that the Department for Work and Pensions will achieve its longer-term goals.As Public Finance went to press, statisticians...
Events
March* MARCH 21Centaur/Public-Private Finance conference - Fourth annual forumSpeakers include: Duane Passman, head, capital investment unit, London Strategic Health Authorities; Margaret Stockham, chief executive, Bedford Primary Care Trust; Mike Baxter,...
Expert Points to 'Gaps' in Scots Efficiency Plans
A leading adviser on public finance is expected to criticise the Scottish Executive's £1.7bn efficient government plan, spotlighting 'fundamental gaps' in the costing of savings.Professor Arthur Midwinter, who is due to speak at CIPFA Scotland's centenary...
Government Should Do More to Boost Voluntary Sector Involvement, Says PAC
Government departments have made only 'limited' progress in increasing voluntary sector involvement in public services, the Commons Public Accounts Committee has found.Commenting on the PAC's report, Working with the voluntary sector, committee member...
Halfway Houses
Home ownership has always been popular among the residents of St Georges Avenue, part of a 1920s estate that is less than a five-minute walk from the centre of Newbury.Since 1989, when Newbury became one of the first local authorities to transfer its...
Letters
You can e-mail your letters to letterstoeditor@publicfinance.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 dangers of phantom savingsReading Steve...
NHS Gains Little from Consultants' Contract
Patients have failed to benefit from a new contract for consultants which has cost the NHS in Scotland an extra £235m over three years, Audit Scotland has found.In a highly critical report this week, the watchdog also disclosed that the Scottish Executive...
Not the Only Gain in Town
The government's proposed Planning Gain Supplement has been billed as a means of strengthening the funding stream and powers available to public bodies trying to expand housing supply in the UK. But, in reality, it is more likely to have the opposite...
ODPM Delays Put Councils' Housing Targets in Doubt
Plans by local authorities to meet the 2010 decent homes target are being frustrated by delays in setting up stock transfers and arm's-length management organisations.Councils had expected to hear by this month whether they are likely to be included...
Parliament Is Too Weak, MPs Told
Two former permanent secretaries have told a committee of MPs that a weak Parliament is allowing a dominant government to pass legislation without proper scrutiny.Lord Butler, the former head of the civil service and Sir Nicholas Monck, former permanent...
Reforms 'Need More' NHS Therapists
A shortage of NHS therapists is likely to force the government to outsource a crucial part of its welfare reforms, Work and Pensions secretary John Button has warned.Hutton told MPs this week that the NHS does not have the capacity to deal with his ambitious...
Regional Policy Must Be Revised, Says Davey
The Liberal Democrats must review their policies on local accountability of public services.That call came from the party's then education spokesman Ed Davey at its spring conference in Harrogate, where new leader Sir Menzies Campbell told the party...
Retirement Age Exemptions to Be 'Negligible'
The number of civil servants exempt from the forthcoming increase in the retirement age is likely to be 'negligible', according to Cabinet Office minister Jim Murphy.To ensure that departments comply fully with plans to raise Whitehall's retirement age...
Round-Up
School nurses are warning that children from poorer backgrounds might not be able to afford to buy healthier foods once the ban on junk food is introduced. The Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association said the healthier food offered by...
Silence Is Not Golden
Private sector companies have been forced to face up to their defined benefit occupational pension liabilities in recent years, due in large part to the light shone on them by the introduction of Financial Reporting Standard 17 on retirement benefits....
Standards Board Urged to Raise Its Game
It was all over in a few seconds, but more than a year later the consequences are still being felt.When London Mayor Ken Livingstone compared a Jewish Evening Standard journalist to a Nazi concentration camp guard, and then refused to defuse the affair...
Still Wide of the Mark?
In 1999, Tony Blair attacked the 'forces of conservatism' that 'keep our bright inner-city kids from our best universities', and set a target of 50% of young adults to go to university by 2010. Seven years on, the proportion of undergraduates from disadvantaged...
Treasury Set to Back City-Regions
Treasury officials will shortly report to Chancellor Gordon Brown on the financial implications of devolving new powers to city-regions, as the local government reform agenda took another firm step in that direction this week.Public Finance has learnt...
Union Seeks Legal Ruling over Changes to LGPS
Unison has requested a judicial review of the government's proposed amendments to the Local Government Pension Scheme, saying its figures and reasoning are 'flawed' and absurd'.The union has asked the courts to examine the figures published by the government...
When the Cap Fits
Council tax isn't out of control. This startling conclusion has begun to percolate through Fleet Street, which means there will be fewer 'local tax horror' headlines this year than in previous ones. An average rise of about 4.5% (predicted recently by...
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