Public Finance

Articles from September 2009

A Tough Conference Call
THE PARTY CONFERENCE season is as much a fixture in the national autumn calendar as the new school term and Guy Fawkes night. It briefly takes the spotlight off Parliament and the TV studios and for a few heady days illuminates both top and bottom of...
Backing the Wrong Horse
SOMETIMES IN LIFE you have to take a punt at something new to make a difference; take a measured gamble even. Do you back the carthorse or follow the racehorse? And so it was with some sadness that I read Paul Cook's views against the government's proposals...
Bill Gives Ministers 'Inappropriate Powers'
Powers being sought by ministers could undermine the independence and effectiveness of public bodies such as Audit Scotland, the Holyrood finance committee has been told.According to the Law Society of Scotland, a proposal in the Public Services Reform...
Consultants Provide 'Value for Money' for NHS
The ManagementConsultancies Association has said diat die £300m spent by the NHS on work by its members last year is 'demonstrably value for money'.The MCA report, Improving care, reducing cost, published on September 15, found that die NHS spent just...
Easy Rider
if there is such a thing as a 'normal' finance minister, then Sammy Wilson is definitely not it. Informal, politically incorrect and with an approachability that is decidedly unusual. Northern Ireland's finance minister is not the model of a modern politician.'Sammy',...
Five Stories You Might Have Missed This Week
MPs dazed and confused by carers' adviceThe government does not adequately support the role of carers in society and the financial benefits carers receive are 'unnecessarily complex and cause confusion'. MPs have said.A report by the Commons Public Accounts...
Leaked Treasury Projections Spark Renewed Row over Cuts
Leaked government figures reveal that Treasury officials planned the 'tightest squeeze' on public services spending since Britain was bailed out by die International Monetary Fund Ln the 1970s, economists have said.The analysis by the Institute of Fiscal...
Letters
You can e-mail your letters to letterstoeditor@publicfinance.co.uk or fax them to: 020 7880 7691. Please include your name and address and a daytime phone number. The editor reserves the right to edit letterswww.publicfinance.co.uk/opinionNot in total...
LGA Recommends Council Investment Fund
Councils could pool up to £30bn of their cash in a dedicated investment fund under Local Government Association plans drawn up following the Icelandic banking fiasco.The LGA's executive was set to discuss a professionally managed investment fund at its...
Medics 'Should Lead Way in Vaccination'
A leading authority on pandemics has said it is LI matter of 'duty and honour' for doctors and nurses to lead by example and sign up for the swine flu vaccine when it is offered to them.Virology professor John Oxford, of Queen Mary University of London,...
News in Brief
Average earnings tor practice owning GPs have fallen by 1.5%. according to figures from the NHS information Centre. The GPs earned an average of £106,072 before tax in 2007/OS. The figures, released on September 16. indicate that the drop in income was...
Scottish Council Tax to Remain the Same for Third Year Running
Council tax payers in Scotland will have their bills frozen for a third successive year following budget plans announced by Finance Secretary John Swinney.A Scottish Government spokesman told Public Finance this week that, over the past two years, the...
Share and Share Alike
TWO OF THE barriers to greater use of technology to improve public services are lack of trust in the systems and public concern about security of data. Improving both of these is therefore vital.At a technical level, IT security is very specialised and...
Student Loans Centre 'Buckled under Strain'
A growing student population, increased demand for courses and a new government processing agency ill-equipped to cope are to blame for the student loans fiasco, according to the National Union of Students.An estimated 170,000 students had not had their...
Ten Frozen Housing Schemes Given £10M to Finish the Job
More than £10m is being spent on reviving ten private house building schemes that were moth balled because of the recession.The money, part of the government's £lbn Kickstart programme, is being allocated to developers and housing associations in the...
The Right Medicine?
NOBODY, LEAST OF all in government, expected a flu pandemic to feel quite like this. The contingency plans drawn up by public bodies before we had even heard of HlNl swine flu set out a range of circumstances that resemble a society on the brink of disintegration:...
The Truth Hurts
Truth and politics are not easy bedfellows. But misleadingthe public, whether actively or by omission, is a dangerous tactic for any politician.Gordon Brown has flirted with this dilemma in recent months. His refusal to acknowledge that cuts are inevitable...
Think-Tank Calls for Reform of Benefits in Favour of the Poorest
The benefits system needs to be radically reformed to get people back to work and protect the lowest paid, a thinktank has urged.The Centre for Social Justice, set up by former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, said benefits should not be taken...
Wales Revises Jobs Plan as It Prepares to Miss 80% Target
The Welsh Assembly Government is revising its labour market strategy after conceding it is going to miss the key employment target.The Plaid Cymru-Labour coalition government's One Wales agreement aimed for 80% of working age adults to be in employment...
Watchdog Calls for Zero-Tolerance of Council Tax and Benefit Cheats
Councils are losing hundreds of millions of pounds a year from tax and benefit fraud, the Audit Commission has warned.The local government regulator has recommended councils develop a 'zero-tolerance' culture to cheats.In Protecting the public purse,...
Whitehall Must Be Held to Business Standards
Government departments should be benchmarked against private sector organisations and staff should be performancemanaged, according to a report by MPs.A Public Accounts Committee report, published on September 15, assessed the Departmental Capability...
Winners All: Ten Future Leaders
Public Finance has announced the winners of the 2009 Future Leaders competition, recognising ten outstanding potential leaders in public sector financial management.The winners come from all parts of the public services and will be presented with their...
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