Public Finance

Articles from October 2009

Audit Scotland to Revise Council Assessments
Scotland's local authority spending watchdog is to press ahead with its revised performance assessment regime after a majority of councils backed the changes.Audit Scotland will now draw up detailed proposals on how the new programme - the latest phase...
Banking's Social Value 'Overstated'
The financial services industry's contribution to the wider economy has been overstated, experts have claimed.A report from a group of academics and practitioners, based at the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change at the University of Manchester,...
Carbon Trading Plan Set to Curb Polluters
The government has finalised plans for a carbon emissions reduction scheme aimed at forcing major public and private sector polluters to take action on climate change.But the Local Government Association described the plans as a 'missed opportunity'....
Clearing the Decks
PARLIAMENT FACES A tough few months. The party conferences are over and MPs and peers are returning after a near 12-week recess. But some familiar problems are about to reappear. The expenses row, which has been largely dormant since July, is set to...
Councils Consider Ditching Almos
Companies set up by local authorities to attract government grants for decent homes face being wound up.Councils are considering whether to scrap arm's-length management organisations in favour of other management options. Most Almos are set to complete...
Councils Tender for Waste Management Scheme
Three local authorities have issued a tender notice for a £1bn waste management scheme, leaving the method of financing, contract structure and technology to be used up for negotiation.Despite its size, Project Transform launched by Warwickshire County...
Economists Cast Doubt on Osborne's Cuts Package
Much more dramatic spending cuts than those already signalled are inevitable if the Conservatives are serious about reducing public borrowing, economists have warned.Shadow chancellor George Osborne this week set out a package of public service restraints...
Five Stories You Might Have Missed This Week
Trim consultants and embassy staff, says unionA government plan to cut jobs for staff at foreign embassies has been attacked by unions.The Public and Commercial Services union said proposals by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to replace up to 134...
Getting Real about Assets
ACCOUNTING FOR HIGHWAYS infrastructure assets is set to change over the next few years, and this month CIPFA will start consulting on a new code. The final version is due for publication in early 2010, a dry run year for Whole of Government Accounts...
Hold the Celebration
'We are all in this together', shadow chancellor George Osborne informed delegates at the Conservative Party conference this week.Well it doesn't feel that way for those working in or for the public services. It might have been the bankers who got us...
Learning to Share
WHEN THE SUNDAY TIMES splashed Labour's plans for cuts in schools recently, the story was no revelatory leak. Rather it was an attempt by Schools Secretary Ed Balls to wrong-foot the Conservatives on spending ahead of the party conferences.Having spent...
Long-Term Care Funding Plans 'Would Only Help Minority'
Conservative proposals for long-term care funding will not work for everyone, experts have warned.Addressing the conference on October 5, Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said a Conservative government would allow people to make a one-off, upfront,...
Once Bitten, Twice Shy?
THE OFFICE OF FAIR TRADING recently imposed combined penalties of almost £130m on more than 100 construction firms identified as having breached competition law.The scale of the ruling sent a strong message to the construction industry that 'bid-rigging'...
PFI Projects Going Overbudget, Auditors Find
More than a third of Private Finance Initiative construction projects have exceeded their budgets, according to data released by the National Audit Office.An NAO report, The performance of PFI construction, studied building projects worth over £20m that...
Quit the Quango Bashing
IT'S PARTY conference time. It's general election time. When better to have a sensible debate about quangos without using the word 'bonfire'?It is worth remembering that agencies set up to carry out government policies have been with us a long time....
Social Services Department Slammed for Using 'Inexperienced' Staff
Birmingham social services department used 'inexperienced staff with insufficient management oversight' who did not meet the needs of the children in its care, a report has found.An inquiry was commissioned by ministers after eight children known to...
Solace Slams Slurs on Chief Executives
The body representing council chief executives has warned that continued attacks on public servants are legitimising unfair dismissals and causing top-level vacancies to remain unfilled.The claim was made to an Audit Commission inquiry on local authority...
Tories Should Be More Radical on Localism, Say Think-Tanks
Two leading Right-leaning think-tanks have urged the Conservative Party to be more radical in devolving power to local government.Policy Exchange and Localis released their report, Can localism deliver?, at the Conservative conference on October 7. It...
WAG Announces Priority Spending Areas
The Welsh Assembly Government has announced it will protect health and youth employment budgets from cuts while spending across the public sector is restrained.The WAG's Draft budget 2010/11, published on October 5, said that Wales had to deal with less...
Weathering the Storm
AFTER A FINANCIAL apocalypse, sharp recession and rocketing unemployment, you might think that things couldn't get much worse. But you could be wrong. The crisis will not simply 'go away'. We face significant real-terms cuts in public service funding,...
We'll Stand Firm on Localist Agenda, Tories Insist
Town halls will need to hold a Conservative government's 'feet to the fire' to ensure it stays true to its localist pledges, the shadow minister for the Cabinet Office has admitted.At the Tory Party conference in Manchester, Francis Maude was quizzed...
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