Public Finance

Articles from July 2005

Barnett Formula Will Not Constrain Scottish Budget, Midwinter Argues
Claims by academics that the Barnett funding formula will lead to a squeeze on Scotland's budget have been rejected by a leading commentator on public finance.Professor Arthur Midwinter, a member of the Institute of Public sector Accounting Research...
Blair's Export Drive
It might have been overshadowed by the fuss surrounding Live 8 and the G8 summit, but another event last Friday was just as politically significant to the UK. On July 1, Britain took up its six-month presidency of the European Union.Tony Blair could...
CIH Calls for Debate on Housing Subsidy System
Housing professionals have pledged to keep up pressure on the government to reform the complex subsidy system.The system for financing local authority housing, described by the Audit Commission last month as unsustainable, should be the subject of a...
Civil Service Values 'Under Threat'
The government must legislate as soon as possible to protect the impartiality of civil servants as the pressures they endure are greater than ever', the first civil service commissioner has warned.Baroness Prashar, who is responsible for upholding the...
Closure of Child Support Agency Would 'Only Relocate the Problem'
James Plaskitt, the new benefits minister, has given the strongest indication yet that the Child Support Agency could continue to operate in its current form, despite calls for it to be closed.In an interview with Public Finance, Plaskitt outlined a...
Commons Financial Watchdog Set to Retain Edward Leigh as Its Chair
Edward Leigh looks set to be re-appointed as the chair of the influential Commons' Public Accounts Committee.Leigh is one of five Conservative MPs nominated to sit on the 15strong committee. Parliamentary convention dictates that the chair goes to an...
Councils Need More Funds to Meet Demand for Social Care
Councils are unable to keep pace with the demands placed on their social care services despite their best efforts, local government leaders warned this week.A report published on July 4 claimed that central government funding fell well short of need....
Foundations for Financial Control
What lies ahead for public services in Labour's historic third term? The aim at least is clear: delivery on the promises of significant improvement. To achieve this, three key means have been chosen - a mixed provider economy, devolution and choice.These...
Foundations 'Need Clarity' over Policies
The government risks destabilising the finances of foundation trusts if it does not clarify its policy on initiatives such as payment by results, the Healthcare Commission said this weekIn a largely positive report on the inaugural year of the first...
In Brief
* The Leader of the Commons, Geoff Hoon, has called for voting to be made compulsory to combat disenchantment with politics. In a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research, he said compulsion was 'the most effective way to increase turnout'.*...
Jubilant London Resolves to Make 2012 a Success
Sir Robin Wales, the mayor of Newham, the London borough where much of the 2012 Olympics will take place, pledged that it would be working 'flat out' to ensure the games are a success.Speaking just after London was awarded the Olympics on July 6, he...
Localists Have Won the Debate, Says Bruce-Lockhart
The decentralisation debate is over and has been won by the localists, Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart told the conference's opening session.'There is widespread recognition that the UK government is unigue in the degree of central control it exerts over public...
Lyons Promises Radical Report on Council Tax
Sir Michael Lyons this week dismissed suggestions that he might be forced to water down his proposals on the future of the council tax.But the former chief executive of Birmingham City Council stressed that he intended to ensure the recommendations of...
Mandarins Call for Action after Casey Gaffe
Senior civil servants have called on the Home Office to take a 'robust approach' in dealing with senior official Louise casey, following her ill-considered comments on antisocial behaviour policies.The FDA union, which represents senior Whitehall staff,...
Mixed Messages
This week's HealLhcarc Commission report on the inaugural year of the first, 20 NHS foundation trusts can be interpreted in two ways. Some consider it a ringing endorsement of the initiative; others insist it confirms foundations are creating a two-tier...
Not Everyone's a Winner
The National Lottery Bill wending its way through Parliament might seem to deal with nothing more than a few technicalities, of interest only to those who actually work in the highly specialised world of lottery funding. The Bill formalises the merger...
PAC Finds Fault with IT Project Vetting Process
Many Whitehall IT projects continue to be delivered late and over budget, despite attempts by the Treasury to improve departmental performance, senior MPs have reported.A report by the Commons' Public Accounts Committee, published on July 5, assesses...
Patients Prefer Quality to Shorter Waiting Times
Patients are willing to ignore the government's flagship choice initiative in favour of receiving better hospital care, according to a report published this week.A joint study by the King's Fund, researchers Rand Europe and City University, London, found...
Railways Must Focus on Value, Say MPs
The Department for Transport should look beyond the civil service to ensure value for money in the train industry following the abolition of the Strategic Rail Authority, MPs have said.A report from the Public Accounts Committee said it was unlikely...
Round-Up
Central government bodies in Wales generally maintain high standards of financial management and probity but need to make better use of accounting information to keep track of growing budgets, auditor general for Wales Jeremy Colman (pictured) has said....
Scottish Public Finds National Taxes 'Fairer'
A larger share of council income in Scotland should be financed from central government, according to members of the public who think the council tax is unfair, the Burt committee of inquiry disclosed this week.The local government finance committee,...
Study of Science to Be Trusted to Market Forces
Government intervention to help protect unpopular science subjects in universities has been ruled out by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.In a report commissioned by former education secretary Charles Clarke, the HEFCE warned against...
The More Things Change
In my last column (The ministry of silly changes', May 27) I suggested that it might be a good idea if government organisations ministries and agencies - were put on some sort of legislative basis.I was pleased to receive an immediate response from Sir...
University Challenge
Universities in the UK have impressive financial clout. Their assets and endowments are worth £26bn and that's excluding the dreaming spires, property portfolios and wine cellars of the Oxbridge colleges. In 2003/04 UK higher education institutions'...
Working Brief
James Plaskitt has just been handed one of the toughest jobs in government, but he shoulders the responsibility with barely concealed delight.He sits upright, attentive and beaming in his interview room in Whitehall's Richmond House, but as he talks...
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