Public Finance

Articles from October 2009

And Then There Were None
AS THE PUBLIC finances become sicker by the minute, politicians' focus has shifted to opportunities for savings. Both main parties are committed toslashinggovernment debt, which will require substantial cuts in public spending.At the Conservative party...
CQC Condemns Trusts That Show No Sign of Improving
Barbara Young says she is a hands-on sort of inspector. The chair of the Care Quality Commission does not confine herself to the boardroom but likes to get out and about in the health service.At the launch of die NHS's performance ratings last week,...
Denham Pledges Freedoms for Councils to Lead Service Reform
Local government should be in the vanguard of public sendee reform and can look forward to enhanced freedoms and flexibilities to provide it. Communities Secretan' John Denham has said.In a speech to the Royal Society of Arts, Denham sought to establish...
Devolving Responsibility 'Will Take Blame off Ministers'
The government must decentralise power in a 'real and visible' way if it wants to end the 'blame the minister' culture in Britain.A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research and PricewaterhouseCoopers has found that when things go wrong with...
Dismantling the HRA
EVERY YEAR THE calls to get rid of the housing revenue account - the national system controlling local council housing income - get louder.I've given those calls an emphatic answer with plans to dismantle the national HRA subsidy system and replace it...
Early Days in Motion
THE CONSERVATIVES ARE suddenly beginning to think of themselves as the party of government. That explains shadow chancellor George Osbornc's speech - labelled 'brave1 - to his party conference where he canvassed tax increases.This was not intended as...
Essex to Sign off Outsourcing Deal without Confirming Costs
Essex County Council has authorised its Cabinet to sign off an outsourcing deal with IBM that could be worth up to £5.4bn - but public documents do not outline either the scope or likely price of the contract.Papers prepared for the council's October...
Five Stories You Might Have Missed This Week
Northern light at the end of the Iceland tunnelThe Icelandic government has reached agreement with the UK and the Netherlands to repay S5bn (£3bn)iostinthe 2008 banking collapse. The repayment does not cover money invested by UK councils, which is being...
Healthy Debates
CONFERENCES BEFORE ELECTIONS are always different. There is a sense of anticipation among some, dread among others. The usual rash of announcements that politicians feel the need to generate becomes a torrent as the battle for exciting headlines is fought....
Leave Your Desk Tidy
Pity the poor public sector manager. Pilloried by the press as time-wasting pen-pushers, the people who plan, run and performance-manage our public services are in the direct line of fire from politicians of all stripes.In these straitened times, the...
Letters
You can e-mail your letters to letterstoeditor@publicfinance.co.uk or fax them to: 020 7S80 7691. Please include your name and address and a daytime phone number. The editor reserves the right to edit letterswww.publicfinance.co.uk/opinionHealey is missing...
MPs Have No Power to Veto Appointments, Says Balls
Education Secretary Ed Balls has hit back at MPs who tried to block his choice of a children's commissioner, telling them they have no veto over major appointments.Balls told the children, schools and families select committee that only in 'exceptional...
News in Brief
The Scottish Council tor Voluntary Organisations has said that its members face a major funding crisis. It issued the warning after being told that a charitable foundation supported by Lloyds TSB bank is to close its doors to new grant applications....
Pension Funds 'Should Invest in Infrastructure'
More must be done to encourage pension funds to back large-scale national infrastructure projects, the chief executive of Partnerships UK has said.Speaking at die agency's annual conference in London on October 15, James Stewart said that a new financial...
People & Posts
E-mail yourjob moves to: hollie.ewers@publicfinance.co.uk Please include yourdaytime telephone numberOBITUARYMike Fogden CB, who died on October 10, was a career civil servant who was dedicated to public administration and what it could deliver for people....
Politicians Get on Board
WAiTiKG for political action on care of elderly people is like waiting for a London bus. You wait sometimes patiently, sometimes fretfully, for ten years and then two turn up together.At each of two recent party political conferences, major speeches...
Public Finances Need Extreme Solutions, Warn Economists
Economists have predicted that only 'extreme' options could fill the huge hole in the public finances, such as a 7p income tax hike, a five-year public sector pay freeze and savage service cuts.The National Institute of Economic and Social Research set...
Public Sector 'Useless' at Managing Assets, Says PfS Chief
The head of the agency responsible for the government's major school -building projects has said assets should be owned by private companies because public bodies are 'useless' at managing them.Tim Byles, chief executive of Partnerships for Schools,...
Scrapping New Deal 'Is Irresponsible'
Conservative proposals to abandon the government's Flexible New Deal jobs programme and replace it with an untried alternative are irresponsible, Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper has said.Cooper told delegates at the Employment Related Services...
Silver Linings
the digital Britain report promotes a 'G-cloud' as a way of contributing to the £7.2bn of savings in back-office and IT services identified in the Treasury's Operational Efficiency Review, but what is it? To understand the G-cloud you need to get behind...
'Stigmatising' Neet Provision Needs Shake-Up, Says LGA
Councils have recommended a comprehensive shake-up of services for young people not in education, employment or training, dismissing existing provision as 'bedevilled1 by bureaucracy.A joint report by the Local Government Association and the Centre for...
Think-Tank Calls for Devolution Funding Rethink
A new financial settlement should be worked out for die UK and devolved governments, a leading Scottish thinktank has suggested.In a report published on October 18, Reform Scotland said a settlement for the whole of the UK would identify which were Westminster...
Whitehall Urged to Develop Concrete Plans for Policy Proposals
Civil servants have been urged to back policy proposals with practical plans on how they will achieve them.Closing the gap, a report from the independent Whitehall & Industry Group, said businesses wanted policies to be more rigorously thought out...
Work with Me to Scrap HRA, Healey Warns Councils
Ministers are stepping up pressure on councils to accept controversial housing finance changes before the generili election.Speaking at a Local Government Association conference this week, housing minister John Healey promised to 'have an offer on the...
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