Public Finance

Articles from April 2008

Access All Areas?
Getting more working class and disadvantaged students into higher education is one of the government's top priorities. Ministers are committed to achieving a 50% participation rate for young adults wishing to go to university. But, as Universities Secretary...
A Drain on Resources
There were a lot of lessons to be learnt from last summer's floods. So many, in fact, that Sir Michael Pitt's interim report has already produced 15 recommendations and a further 92 interim conclusions.His final report, to be published this summer, will...
Against All Odds
Another day, another prophecy of economic woe. This time it was the International Monetary Fund delivering the bad news, announcing this week that it has cut its UK economic growth forecast to just 1.6% per year in 2008 and 2009.It is the last thing...
Benefits Erosion Could Double Child Poverty
The number of children living in poverty could dramatically increase over the next 20 years as a result of the way the Treasury adjusts benefits each year, a study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found.The report, The impact of benefit and tax...
Blears Warns of Social Divide in Housing
The minister responsible for communities has warned against housing developments creating 'social apartheid', dividing rich and poor.Communities and Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears said: 'If affluence is used to create a separateness, a kind...
Charities Speak out on Underage Drinking
Charities have said there should be harsher penalties for adults who buy alcohol for teenagers and more engagement with young people, as the government announced the results of a halfterm crackdown on underage drinking.Announcing the results of a Home...
Darling Defiant as Fears Mount over UK Economy
Alistair Darling was forced this week to defend his public spending and fiscal forecasts, as independent economists and politicians warned they lacked credibility.The criticisms followed the International Monetary Fund's decision to slash its UK growth...
Eco-Town Proposals Prompt Sceptical Response
On the face of it, the concept often eco-towns should hold popular appeal. Not only does it help to cement the government's green credentials, but the towns offer the prospect of new affordable housing alongside cutting-edge public services.But by the...
Events
April* APRIL 23-25CIPFA audit conference - The road to excellenceChair: Richard King, chair, CIPFA Audit Panel.Speakers include: Jeffrey Ridley, visiting professor, London South Bank University; David Law, head of risk and audit, the Olympic Delivery...
Expert Panel Set Up to Advise on New Eco-Towns
A panel of experts has been appointed to advise developers and local authorities on the best way of building eco-towns.The panel's members were announced by housing minister Caroline Flint on April 9 - just six days after the Department for Communities...
Healthcare Commission Survey Uncovers NHS Staff Discontent
Fewer than half of NHS staff in England believe patient care is their trust's top priority, a survey by the Healthcare Commission has revealed.The watchdog's annual survey of staff attitudes, published on April 9, reflected the views of more than 155,000...
NHS Should Apologise for Errors
NHS trusts should be willing to apologise to patients when they make mistakes, the health care watchdog has recommended.A report from the Healthcare Commission - its second examining the NHS complaints system - urged trusts to learn from patients' complaints...
NHS Staff Offered Three-Year Pay Deal
The government looked to have averted the threat of pay strikes spreading to the NHS after negotiating a three-year pay deal with two major unions this week.Unison and the Royal College of Nursing will consult their members on the package, which would...
Nuclear Clean-Up Needs More Cash
Anti-nuclear campaigners have seized on a parliamentary report that highlights the parlous state of funding for nuclear decommissioning to attack the government's plans for nuclear expansion.The report by the Commons business, enterprise and regulatory...
Pensions Get a Workout
We have much to be proud of in the financial management of the Local Government Pension Scheme. With £122bn under investment at March 2007, it is a significant enterprise.Successful though it is, there Is constant pressure to improve performance. Against...
Playing the Numbers Game
Immigration is the most sensitive issue in British politics: the hardest to handle and potentially the most explosive electorally. That is why the recent report from the House of Lords select committee on economic affairs was so significant. The distinguished...
Public Finance Names the Ten Winning 'Future Leaders'
Public Finance has announced the winners of its Future Leaders initiative, recognising ten outstanding potential leaders in public sector financial management.The winners come from all parts of the public services and will be recognised at a ceremony...
Round-Up
* Four London boroughs joined Local Authorities Mutual Limited on April 1, the Insurance company's first anniversary. Croydon, Camden, Haringey and Lambeth joined the three existing members - Brent, Tower Hamlets and Harrow - in the not-for-profit insurance...
Scotland Counts the £1.75Bn Cost of Its Poor Children
Child poverty in Scotland is costing up to £1.75bn a year, according to research carried out for the Scottish government.A report, Estimating the cost of child poverty - approaches and evidence, considers the cost to the public purse of having one in...
Scots Council Workers Accept Pension Scheme
Thousands of local government workers have accepted a new pension scheme drawn up by the Scottish government.Members of Unison, which represents 150,000 council employees in Scotland, voted in favour of the new Local Government Pension Scheme, which...
Taking on the System
Our elected representatives must often wonder why their surgeries are full of people complaining about housing, benefits and other public services that the Audit Commission has highly rated. The uncomfortable truth is that the commission's narrative...
Teacher Recruitment Faces a Crisis, Claims Think-Tank
Teaching is heading for another recruitment crisis, according to claims from a Right-of-centre think-tank.Policy Exchange this week said the relatively successful efforts to encourage people into teaching had created a culture of complacency, which could...
The Fight of Their Lives
The London mayoral race has become a contest with national implications. What started life as the capital's four-yearly Punch & Judy show has evolved into a war-by-proxy between Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron. But...
Universities' Admission Policies to Be Made Public
Universities have agreed that they should make public their admissions policies but insist that they retain control over who to admit.Measures set out by Universities Secretary John Denham this week would require each university to publicise its admissions...
Welsh to Scrap Internal Market in the NHS
The NHS internal market in Wales is set to be abolished and local commissioning bodies reduced by two-thirds under far-reaching plans announced by the Welsh Assembly Government.The proposals, now out for a three-month consultation, would involve Wales...
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