Public Finance

Articles from June 2007

Child Bill Omission 'Could Compromise Poverty Targets'
Ministers were this week accused of trying to sneak 'through the back door' a controversial decision over their child maintenance reforms after omitting it from a new Bill.Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton has delayed a decision over the amount...
Close, but No Cigar
Former chancellor Kenneth Clarke has stood for the Tory leadership three times but his failure has not dampened his political activism, he tells Joseph McHughKenneth Clarke is ensconced in his Portcullis House office and deep in conversation with a fellow...
Commute Times Could Derail City-Regions Plan
Plans to improve UK productivity through the development of dynamic city-region economies are likely to be stymied by a familiar workforce foe - excessive commuting times, international research suggests.The extent of the challenge facing central and...
DoH Confirms the NHS Is Back in the Black by £500M
The NHS will report an official net surplus of around £510m for 2006/07, the Department of Health confirmed on June 6. But the apparent turnaround was created by withholding £1.28bn until balance sheets were drawn up at the end of March.Health Secretary...
Emergency Readmissions Up 29% since 1999
Cost-consciousness in the English NHS has led to a 29% rise in emergency readmission rates for all age groups, Public Finance has been told. Ministers pledged to examine the figures.Official figures, summarised in PFlast week show that emergency readmission...
Energy Policies an 'Incoherent Hotchpotch', Says Oxford Study
Britain's energy policies are an 'incoherent hotchpotch that could fail to secure crucial supplies, tackle climate change and combat global poverty, independent experts have warned.An assessment published on June 4 urges ministers to secure supplies...
Fit for Purpose
John Butler has an unusual ambition. CIPFA's incoming president hopes eventually to be the world orienteering champion in the '90 years and over' age category. And few would bet against him achieving this.Butler has performed at the highest level of...
Legal Challenge Is Hampering Councils' Business Growth Scheme, Says Minister
Councils have been urged to drop legal challenges over the distribution of a special government grant designed to boost business growth.Local government minister Phil Woolas this week wrote to three councils that have mounted action over the methodology...
More Tiers before Bedtime
I've been fascinated by local government ever since I inherited from my dad a commemorative brochure to mark the opening of the new municipal power station. He was a senior official in one of the old county boroughs, starting work in the treasurer's...
NAO Casts Doubt on Value of PFI Schemes
Four out of nine Private Finance Initiative schemes fail to achieve good value for taxpayers with their facility services, the National Audit Office has found.The watchdog's June 6 report, Benchmarking and market testing the ongoing services component...
No End of a Lesson
For anyone interested in the state of the NHS and our schools - and that should be everyone - we are at a fascinating and historically unprecedented turning point. A popular prime minister with a strong mandate, committed to public service reform, has...
No Going Back
Crisis? What crisis? The doom mongers who suggested the health service was in financial meltdown have been proved wrong. Deficit has turned into surplus, and we can all sleep safe in our hospital beds.That was the reassuring message from Richmond House...
Now SNP Jointly Runs Ten Councils
The Scottish National Party has added to its success in becoming the minority government at Holyrood by winning influential positions of power locally.As all but two of Scotland's 32 local authorities became hung councils after the May 3 elections, parties...
Pre-Nuptial Rows Threaten to End the PPP Honeymoon
'It'll never last,' tends to be the not-so-cynical reaction when we read of apparently loved-up celebrities jealously guarding their wealth and status by drawing up complex prenuptial agreements. How can love and trust flourish when it is hidebound by...
Rest Assured
CIPFA's AGM on June 12 will decide on an important set of proposed changes to the institute's bye-laws. These are designed to pave the way for the introduction of a practice assurance scheme for our self-employed members. This is a relatively small but...
Round-Up
* Local authorities have been asked to provide citizenship guidance for newcomers to the country as part of the government's efforts to improve community cohesion. According to plans announced this week, councils will be asked to set out immigrants'...
Running to Catch Up
'Modernise' has been one of the most enduring buzz words of the past decade. The Blair years, however progressive in appearance, have had an obsession with applying the slightly old-fashioned word 'modern to aspects of local government, the NHS, policing,...
School Governors Short on Skills
School governors often lack the financial and managerial skills to carry out the duties expected of them, a study has warned.A report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation this week said that although governors were expected to take on more and...
Sick Leave in Parts of the DfT Are 'Astonishingly High'
Sickness absence in the Department for Transport and its agencies costs around £24m a year, government auditors said this week.The National Audit Office noted that rates were notably high in both the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and the Driving...
SNP Asks Auditors to Review Transport Project Costs
Scotland's auditor general, Bob Black, is to review the cost projections of controversial airport rail link and tram plans for Edinburgh before a final decision is made on whether the projects should go ahead.Finance Secretary John Swinney announced...
Take the Medicine
The NHS can face up to its sixtieth birthday next year, safe in the knowledge that no serious political party would now dare challenge its defining principles - of a health system paid for out of national taxation with equal access to care free at the...
Whitehall Performance Measures Set to Change
Whitehall departments could have their contributions to cross-government policies reviewed under Gordon Browns plans to broaden responsibility for crucial public services, Public Finance has learnt.Ian Watmore, head of the Prime Minister s Delivery Unit,...
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