Public Finance

Articles from March 2005

Bid for Change
During the 1980s and early 1990s, there was growing anxiety about the state of many town centres in England. They were becoming rundown and unattractive, antisocial behaviour was increasing and out-of-town shopping centres were attracting consumers away....
Borders Railway Line to Reopen after 36 Years
Transport Minister Nicol Stephen has announced financial backing of £115m for the reopening of the Waverley railway line in the Scottish Borders.In what would be one of the biggest transport projects approved by the Scottish Executive, the plan is to...
Brown 'Vindicated' by Growth Figures
The 'Iron Chancellor' believes he answered the critics who questioned his management of the public finances, but experts have warned his Budget might not prevent post-election tax rises.Gordon Brown said: Those who have called our spending unaffordable...
Councils Need a Shake-Up, Says McCabe
Finance Minister Tom McCabe urged council leaders to back radical changes in the way public services are organised when he addressed the CIPFA in Scotland conference last week.He hinted at reforms that could lead to changes in the geographical boundaries...
Councils 'Still Using' B&Bs for Homeless
Local authorities are flouting the law by placing families with children in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than six weeks.Nearly a year after the government outlawed this, new figures show that 100 families with children had been in B&B...
Education Promised £11Bn Boost in Building Funds
Primary schools and further education colleges are to share in an £11bn capital investment boost over the next five years.Colleges and schools were understood to be expecting some good news in the Budget, and Chancellor Gordon Brown delivered by extending...
Events
MarchMARCH 30Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services conference - Health and wellbeing: is there a role for regulatory services?Chair: Councillor Geoffrey Theobald.Speakers include: Sarah Wood, director of economic and environmental policy,...
Everything You Wanted to Know about the PFI
Campaigners for greater openness about the Private Finance Initiative have had a good week.First, major contractor Carillion broke ranks and publicly valued its PFI holdings, revealing that its £29m investment in 18 schemes has almost trebled in the...
Expert Warns of More Delays to PBR Rollout
The architect of the payment by results reform of NHS finance has warned the health sector to expect further delays to its full implementation.Bob Dredge, former programme manager of financial reform at the Department of Health, claimed it was possible...
Four 'Super Regulators' to Replace Inspectorates
Gordon Brown heralded root-and-branch reforms to the regulation of public services as he used his Budget statement to announce plans to slash the number of inspectorates from 11 to four.The chancellor, addressing a packed I louse of Commons on March...
Internal Affairs
The era of freedom of information is now upon us, and we all have the ability to access data held by public bodies throughout the UK. Already there have been requests ranging from the fallout from 'Black Wednesday' to Tony Blair's dinner guests at Chequers...
Kent Leader Calls for Long-Term Funding
Capital investment programmes must be accompanied by funding plans that cover the life of the projects to ensure that the targets outlined can be achieved, Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart has told Public Finance.The Local Government Association chair and Tory...
Master and Commander
All over Britain the cry has gone up in Labour households, 'Bring back Brown'. The party's election campaign is officially in disarray, lacking, it would seem, that steady strategic hand on the tiller that only the chancellor can provide.At first glance,...
Mayors for All Reasons
Along with Camilla Parker-Bowles, directly elected mayors' time might finally have come. Despite being largely unloved and ignored by many people across the country (mayors as well as Mrs Parker-Bowles), they could be about to become a permanent fixture.Number...
News: In Brief
* Conservative leader Michael Howard dismissed the Budget as a 'vote now, pay later' deal. Warning of impending tax rises, he accused the government of putting the interests of the Labour Party ahead of those of the country.* The stamp duty threshold...
Not Fade Away
Public servants constantly complain about over-regulation. As one inspector finishes poring over the books, they say, another turns up ready to examine the same documents and pose identical questions.Well, not for much longer if New Labour has its way....
Raynsford Rules out Compulsory Mayoral Vote
Ministers will not force councils to hold referendums on new powerful directly elected mayors, despite wantinq big cities to take up the idea.Local government minister Nick Raynsford told Public Finance that he hoped major urban areas would be persuaded...
Round-Up
Thousands of doctors are threatening to retire early if the government forces a new pension scheme on them, the British Medical Association has warned. The plan to raise the public sector pension age from 60 to 65 is already threatening to cause widespread...
The CPA's Achilles Heel
In the High Court last month, a ruling was handed down that could have profound implications for the Comprehensive Performance Assessment. It involved a challenge by the London Borough of Ealing to its CPA categorisation as a 'weak' authority.What happened...
Town Halls Told to Take Responsibility over Tax
Local government must take more responsibility for its own actions and not 'pass the buck' to Whitehall when it comes to criticisms of the council tax, CIPFA's chief executive told delegates.Steve Freer said that councils were right to resist capping...
Turnbull Admits 'Back-Office' Term Was Wrong
Sir Andrew Turnbull has admitted that the distinction made between back-office and frontline civil servants, one of the initial tenets of the governments £40bn efficiency agenda, 'was a mistake'.Appearing before the Commons' public administration select...
Unions Oppose 'Cheap' MoD Payoffs for 10,000 Jobs
The Ministry of Defence will announce details of a 10,000 reduction in civil service posts this week, but unions have warned staff against accepting the severance package on offer.MoD officials plan to slash 11,500 posts by 2008 as part of the government's...
Unions Unite to Strike over Pension Changes
Millions of public service workers look certain to take part in the sectors largest strike for decades next week as the government comes under fire for its 'politically inept' handling of pension reforms.Seven unions will take the unprecedented step...
Unison Set for More Equal Pay Fights
The record equal pay settlement at North Cumbria Acute NHS Trust is 'unlikely to be replicated elsewhere', employers have warned, despite Unison this week gearing up for the prospect of similar settlements for up to 450,000 of its members.The deal, yet...
Wide Variation in Bursaries Set Out
Nine out often universities intend to charge tuition fees at the highest possible rate of £3,000 a year - but they insist that poorer students will be supported with a generous package of bursaries.Access agreements, approved by the Office for Fair Access,...
Workload Deal Flawed, Says Collins
Unpublished research by the Conservative party has found that rural and smaller primary schools are resorting to 'drastic measures' to meet the national workload agreement, Tim Collins has told Public Finance.The shadow education secretary, speaking...
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