Public Finance

Articles from October 2005

A Shot in the Arm
The man on the Clapham omnibus must be scratching his head. The government has promised, and delivered, record funding increases to the health service, yet many trusts are struggling with deficits and cutting services to balance their books. How can...
Brown's Ground Zero
Tighten your belts. Anyone working in the public sector should realise that the days of plenty - well, at least, not of starvation - are going to end in a couple of years.The coming few months will be a time of self-examination and rigorous scrutiny....
'Collaborative Working' Central to PFI Schemes
Private Finance Initiative credits worth £125m awarded this week will provide incentives for working with the voluntary, health and private sectors, care services minister Liam Byrne has told Public Finance.Byrne said five local authorities had submitted...
Cosla Calls for Law and Order Cash
Scottish local authorities have called on the Executive to provide additional funding to cope with the 'massive' financial implications of its flagship law and order Bill.The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities this week gave its approval to the...
Deal at Last on Agenda for Change
The protracted dispute over the refusal by private firms to offer the Agenda for Change pay deal to employees working in the NHS will finally be resolved this week after the government agreed to fund its extension.As Public Finance went to press, the...
Diverse Services 'May Be Result Of' Decentralisation
Localists needed to be grown-up' about decentralisation and admit it might well mean an increase in the 'postcode lottery' in public services, shadow local government secretary Caroline Spelman told a conference fringe meeting.'If we decentralise, we...
DWP 'Not Complacent' as Benefit Fraud Is Halved
The public sector could employ an additional 5,700 doctors, 12,800 nurses or 9,100 police officers annually with the money it loses through two forms of benefit fraud.A study by the Department for Work and Pensions reveals that the sector is still losing...
Employers Call for Cap on NHS Pay Increases as Costs Begin to Mount
The health service can afford pay rises of no more than 2.5% next year, NHS Employers said this week as concern grew over NHS organisations' ability to balance their books.The fears were compounded by two legal challenges that could have profound effects...
From Braveheart to No Heart
The Tories aren't the only party with an identity crisis. The Scottish National Party has been struggling to come to terms with the age of political apathy and the dominance of New Labour. For the past year, under their retread leader, Alex Salmond,...
Getting Lift off the Ground
The introduction in 2002/03 of the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (Lift) programme provided a new market for investment in primary care and community-based health facilities and services. It aims to enable local authorities to deliver better integrated...
Greater Expectations
When citizens become customers, expectations inevitably rise. This is, of course, a good thing-if public services do not improve over time then something must be seriously amiss.But meeting customer expectations does not come cheap, and someone has to...
In Brief
* The costs of criminal proceedings following the Hatfield rail crash in October 2000 will reach £8m, the Central Criminal Court has been told. Mr Justice Mackay was hearing evidence on the proportion that should be paid by the firms involved. Network...
It's Now or Never
Tony Blair is in for the long haul. The prime minister's party conference speech was widely interpreted as a statement that he intends to be around for another four years. He did not sound like a leader cutting and running. The decision to postpone council...
Lansley Calls for Free Market in NHS
A future Conservative government should match Margaret Thatcher s enterprise revolution in industry, with a social enterprise revolution' in the public services, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley told the party conference on October 4.Lansley said:...
Letters
More than just making moneyI had the greatest difficulty getting to grips with Ann Rossiter's feature, 'Keeping the faith' (September 23-29). The first part of the article argues that private sector workers are just as altruistic, kind and nice in their...
LGPS Retirement Age Data in Doubt
Local government employers have overstated the 'unaffordability' of the status quo in the local government pension scheme by as much as £95m a year, a study commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has suggested.Estimates by the Employers'...
'Lift Gershon Threat' from Jobcentre Staff
Jobcentres are not 'punching their weight' and the staff cuts planned under the Gershon efficiency agenda could stymie efforts to get people off benefits and into work, an influential think-tank has warned.The Institute for Public Policy Research North...
Most Tenants Satisfied with Almos, Studies Find
Council-owned housing companies have improved their performance and are more popular with tenants than are other landlords, new figures reveal.According to studies by the benchmarking firm Housemark, 77% of tenants in homes run by arm's-length management...
Red Tape and Chaos Theory
At the time of this year's Budget, the chancellor made great play of a decision to simplify audit and inspection in the public sector as part of his crusade against red tape and bureaucracy. In parallel with his efficiency drive to save £21.5bn, he promised...
Round-Up
The future of the European Structural Fund Programmes in Wales was discussed last week at a meeting between the Welsh Local Government Association and European Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hubner amid concerns that the programme had stalled. Chris...
Scots Set Up Independent Group to Vet Expenditure
An independent scrutiny group has been set up by the Scottish Executive to review its expenditure and ensure budgets are meeting priorities across all departments.Announcing details this week, finance minister Tom McCabe said it was being established...
Scottish Services Delivered at Least as Well as Those in England
Scotland's record on delivering services is at least as good as England's, even though the Scottish Executive takes a different approach to Whitehall on monitoring and supporting delivery, permanent secretary John Elvidge has said.The head of the Scottish...
Treasury Hard-Pressed to Fulfil Job Cut Pledge
The Treasury is struggling to meet its ambitious 84,000 Whitehall job cuts target by 2008, after new figures showed that it has only reduced civil service numbers by 12,000.Despite pledging to cut Whitehall costs by £40bn and axe thousands of civil service...
UK Websites Outperform in Survey
Whitehall's e-government websites outperform their Irish peers, but a 'lack of focus' on users' needs and customer service still undermines services, new research claims.A study by Internet consultancy IQ Content, published on October 4, compares UK...
Warwick Deal Slammed by Labour Law Expert
Ministers have left ample scope to opt out of implementing two-tier workforce agreements across the public sector, despite pledging to end pay variations for transferred staff, a leading academic has warned.Professor Keith Ewing, a labour law expert...
Welsh Councils Call on Treasury to Plug Gap
Welsh local government leaders are demanding financial help directly from the Treasury to plug the funding gap they claim has been created by a delay in publishing the results of Sir Michael Lyons' council tax inquiry until 2006.The Welsh Local Government...
Welsh Government Holds to Health Commitment
Health continues to be a top priority for the Welsh Assembly government, according to Finance Minister Sue Essex as she unveiled the draft budget for 2006/07 last week.Almost half of next year's £240m funding increase is to go on health, helping to fund...
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