Public Finance

Articles from March 2008

Aberdeen Is in 'Precarious' Financial Position
The finances of Aberdeen City Council are 'precarious', according to the public spending watchdog responsible for the audit of Scottish local authorities.Following a report by controller of audit Caroline Gardner, the Accounts Commission announced that...
Balls Promises Teachers That Workload Worries Will Be Addressed
Schools Secretary Ed Balls this week reassured teachers that their concerns over workloads would be met.In a speech to the National Association of Schoolmasters/ Union of Women Teachers annual conference in Birmingham on March 26, Balls promised that...
Bush Fire under Control?
Most of the coverage of the US elections has concentrated on who is going to win - there has been very little coverage of what they are going to win. What powers will the fortyfourth president inherit?The conventional wisdom is that President George...
Children's Speech Problems 'Deserve Greater Priority'
Children's speech and language needs should be given higher priority by both health and education services, a governmentcommissioned review has said.The review, chaired by Conservative MP John Bercow, who also chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group...
Citizens Need Complaints Body, Say MPs
MPs have urged the government to introduce a one-stop shop' to help the public with complaints against departments and government bodies.A public administration select committee report, When citizens complain, published on March 24, suggests that the...
Councils to Offer Tenants Job Advice
Local authorities are being invited to offer careers advice and other guidance to tenants who rent from the council or housing associations.Fifteen councils will initially get the go-ahead to set up enhanced 'housing options' services as part of the...
Counting the Carbon
Despite the changeable nature of modern politics, the environment has succeeded in capturing the attention of all the main parties - just witness Alistair Darling's recent Budget, with its range of green measures.But at the policy level, environmental...
Cripes, Boris for Mayor?
Whisper it if you dare, but just over a month from now Boris Johnson could be mayor of London with the biggest personal mandate of any western European politician other than the president of France.What began looking like a bit of a joke has turned into...
Events
March* MARCH 31Capita event - 'Not in education employment or training' conferenceChair: Terry Wilson, former director, planning & performance, Connexions.Speakers include: Jo Thomas, head of post-16 targets unit, Department for Children, Schools...
Flood Risk Expert Calls for Legal Overhaul
The legal framework for flood risk management is a mess', with gaps that make it hard to establish who is responsible for what, Sir Michael Pitt, who is carrying out a review of last summer's floods, has warned.'Flood risk is here to stay and probably...
MPs' Concerns over Service Cuts Dismissed by Whitehall
The government has dismissed calls from backbench MPs to ensure that the efficiency savings targets set out in the Comprehensive Spending Review do not lead to cuts in services. It has rejected the Treasury select committee's claims that public and parliamentary...
MPs Criticise Funding Cut for 'ELQ' Students
The decision to cut state funding to students studying for second degrees was 'premature' and not based on hard evidence, MPs said this week.In September 2007, ministers announced that as from 2008/09, they would withdraw funding paid to higher education...
Patriot Games
Gordon Brown is a Scot who is proud to be British. He believes in British workers for British jobs and is scathing of those who threaten the Union.We know this because Brown chose constitutional reform as the subject for his maiden speech in Parliament...
Planning Delays Laid at Whitehall's Door
Town hall leaders have hit back angrily after ministers pledged this week to 'bust red tape' and 'weed out bureaucracy' to speed up the sluggish planning regime.The Local Government Association rounded on the government following the launch of a review...
Plans for PFI Alternative Are 'Unclear'
Leading public finance officials have told the Scottish government that it has failed to provide any information showing that its plans to replace Private Finance Initiative funding will be less costly or provide value for money.CIPFA in Scotland's response...
PO Takeover Plans Welcomed
Local government leaders have welcomed a ministerial decision to explore the possibility of councils taking over post offices due for closure.Business Secretary John Hutton wrote to Alan Cook, the managing director of the Post Office, asking him to talk...
Regeneration Policies 'Are Failing Deprived Communities'
Despite the billions of pounds spent on low-income neighbourhoods, inequality continues to rise, according to a report by the New Economics Foundation.Hitting the target, missing the point: how government regeneration targets fail deprived areas, published...
Regulation Issues
Local government has improved, is improving and will go on improving. Believe that, and you have to ask whether we need the Audit Commission. The challenge on the lips of many in the sector, including Local Government Association chair Sir Simon Milton,...
Round-Up
* Newly qualified nurses and midwives are struggling to find work in the NHS months after graduating, according to figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats. In 2005/06, 770 nursing and midwifery graduates did not have an NHS post, compared with just...
Salmond Calls for Constitutional Referendum
Scotland's first minister has challenged opposition parties to agree to a referendum to test constitutional proposals from a newly formed commission, which would radically alter the country's relations with the rest of the UKAlex Salmond was speaking...
Spending Our Way to Success
The rosy glow of job security in the public sector, painted by Tony Travers in Public Finance ('It's not as bad as you think', March 21-27), has been exposed for the myth that it is.The latest Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Labour market...
Strict Car Rules to Be in Force for New Eco-Towns
Households livinq in new eco-towns will be subject to strict transport rules with no more than half permitted to own a car, the government confirmed this week.Motorists will face 15mph speed limits on most roads, while families without vehicles will...
Vulnerable Consumers Need More Help, Says NAO
All three national consumer regulators should use their competition and protection powers to ensure that customers do not lose out in a price free-for-all, the National Audit Office has warned.In a report, Protecting consumers? Removing retail price...
When Justice Catches Up
The recent police investigation on Jersey into child abuse at the former Haut de la Garenne children's home has already led to the first criminal charges. The home was closed down in 1986 and it is only now, more than 20 years later, that former residents...
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