Public Finance

Articles from April 2008

Back to Their Futures
Any Kent County Council finance managers looking for an easy budget cut might be interested to know there's an employee who's willing to work for nothing. Eighteen-year-old Stephen Jeffrey is one of 52 young people undertaking an apprenticeship with...
Built to Last
Within days of moving into her new Basingstoke home, Janine Waters realised it boasted more space than a typical four-bedroom property. Not only are all the doorways wide enough to take a wheelchair, but there is even room on the first-floor landing...
Capped Authorities Ready to Fight Their Corner
Local authorities facing the prospect of council tax capping are gearing up to argue their case to ministers.On March 27, local government minister John Healey announced that one council and seven police authorities had been 'designated' for capping....
Civil Servants Told 'To Break Down Old Ways of Doing Things'
Around 6,000 civil servants at all levels this week heard Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell outline a renewed drive for Whitehall reform and a skills strategy for department staff.O'Donnell, hosting Civil Service Live at the QEII centre in London,...
Cosla Chief Calls for Better Communication
The leader of Scotland's local authorities has called on the Labour Party to communicate better at all levels'.Pat Watters, president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, made his appeal at the Scottish Labour Party conference at Aviemore....
Council Staff Join Teachers in Rejecting 2.45% Pay Offer
Union leaders representing 1.4 million council workers moved closer to following 200,000 teachers on to the picket lines this week, putting renewed pressure on Gordon Brown as he restated his determination to hold down public sector pay.The GMB, Unison...
Credit Crunch Hits Borrowing Costs
Social landlords face a tough outlook as the cost of borrowing money rises following the credit crunch, housing finance directors have been told.Mark Webster, head of housing at Nationwide Building Society, told the National Housing Federation's housing...
Crisis, What Crisis?
The past week has been dominated by the C-words: Carla, of course - all demure, gazelle-eyed feminine silence. The credit crunch, and associated financial insecurity, continues. Public cynicism appears ever more deeply entrenched.Meanwhile, choice continues...
Doubts Cast over Scots' Power to Levy LIT
A dispute has broken out between the Scottish government and the Treasury over whether ministers in Edinburgh have the power to levy a nationally set local income tax.The difference of opinion over the flagship policy of the Scottish National Party administration...
Events
April* APRIL 22-23PDP event - Annual freedom of information conferenceSpeakers include: Graham Smith, deputy information commissioner, Information Commissioner's Office; Natalie Ceeney, chief executive, the National Archives; and Bernadette Livesey,...
Getting on Board
Governance is in the news: at the Easter conference of the National Union of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers, delegates complained that school governance was not 'fit for purpose' and that an essential public service should not be in the hands...
Local Green Initiative 'Won't Tackle Climate Change'
A green neighbourhoods initiative launched by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has been criticised as a 'piecemeal' attempt to tackle climate change from a department with little clout.Benn announced the initiative to help 100 neighbourhoods reduce...
Lock-Ins 'Won't Stop Junk Food'
Teachers and town halls have given short shrift to suggestions on how they could ensure children eat a healthy diet.The School Food Trust last week said schools should consider keeping pupils away from local junk food outlets during their lunch break...
NI Public Sector 'Faces 15% Job Cuts'
More than 33,000 public sector jobs in Northern Ireland face the axe, some 15% of the total, according to the Nipsa union.The warning follows an announcement that 450 jobs will go at the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, 15% of its total workforce,...
Outsourcing Review Shuns Trade Unions
Trade unions have complained that they have been left out of a groundbreaking government review of public sector outsourcing.The Public Services Industry Review, announced by Business Secretary John Hutton in December 2007, is led by DeAnne Julius, chair...
Over-40s to Be Given Vascular Health Checks
Everyone between the ages of 40 and 74 will be given a five-yearly vascular health check through a programme beginning next year, the government has promised.Health Secretary Alan Johnson said that the checks to assess vulnerability to vascular illness...
Payback Time
If the morale of public sector workers slips any lower, it will be Prime Minister Gordon Brown who requires the flak jacket rather than Harriet Harman.Already expecting the first national teachers' strike in more than 20 years, the PM might also face...
R&C Told to Use Higher Fines and Publicity to Deter Tax-Dodgers
Revenue & Customs should impose greater penalties and make more use of publicity to reduce the £1bn a year in unpaid tax lost in the 'hidden economy', the National Audit Office has said.An NAO report, HM Revenue & Customs: tackling the hidden...
RDAs' Bigger Role Raises Democratic Questions
Town halls have voiced concerns over plans to give greater responsibility to regional development agencies.The government has opened consultation on proposals outlined last July in the Sub-National Review of Economic Development and Regeneration, which...
Round-Up
* The Housing and Regeneration Bill has been amended to ensure that the new social housing regulator will have to consult the Charity Commission before it imposes compulsory standards on charities that provide housing. The commission has been warning...
RSL Coffers Boosted by £542M of Sales
Housing associations are continuing to raise millions of pounds from the sale of properties to tenants and other first-time buyers, figures reveal.Many registered social landlords rely on sales to record pre-tax surpluses, according to the latest global...
RSL Non-Housing Spend Still Brings Financial Benefits
Housing associations can recover much of the money that they invest in local communities, the conference heard.Mervyn Jones, chief executive of Willow Park Housing Trust, said it had seen a significant return on the millions of pounds that it had spent...
Separate but Equal
One of the greatest social policy ironies of the present day lies in the justifiable expectations that arose from Lord Laming's report on the murder of eight-year-old Victoria Climbié. Consolidating child protection and child care services and setting...
Teaching Unions Say 14-19 Changes Are Inadequate
Government plans to streamline qualifications for 14 to 19-year-olds do not go far enough, teachers' leaders said this week.A consultation on the Department for Children, Schools and Families' qualifications strategy proposes crystallising the existing...
The Rich Man in His Castle
Local income tax seemed like such a good idea. It's fair, being related to ability to pay; cheap to collect, through the existing Revenue system; and it doesn't Involve any unpopular property revaluations. With public hostility toward the council tax...
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