Public Finance

Articles from August 2008

Beijing's Cultural Revolution
Targets get a bad press. When the subject comes up on the Today programme, John Humphrys can barely suppress a snarl. Hardly a day goes by without some professional body or senior public official especially doctors, police officers and teachers - complaining...
Brown Accused of Incompetence as Economic Gloom Deepens
Opposition politicians have accused Prime Minister Gordon Brown of 'reckless fiscal Irresponsibility' after official figures showed economic growth at a standstill and a gloomy outlook for public finances.Revised figures from the Office for National...
Cost of Scottish Free Personal Care Soars by 52%
Controversy over Scotland's flagship free personal care service was reignited as the latest figures showed that the cost has soared by 52% in the four years since the policy was introduced.A report by the Scottish Government's chief statistician, published...
Deprived Areas Offer Poorer Childcare, Ofsted Finds
Childcare services in the poorest parts of the country lag behind national average standards, the education watchdog has revealed.An Ofsted review of childcare and early-years education, published on August 27, found that in the 30 most deprived local...
'Electoral Roll Should Not Be Sold'
Election officers believe companies should be legally prevented from gaining access to the personal details in the electoral register, according to a survey published this week.The survey, conducted jointly by the Local Government Association and the...
Error Messages
Payment by results has never been far from controversy. Introduced in England in 2003 as part of an NHS internal market, it has been ignored by every other part of the UK.The idea behind PbR is simple. Hospitals are paid for what they do, based on an...
Events
Send details of your events to e.lawton@publicfinance.co.ukSeptember* SEPTEMBER 11CBI forum - The NHS: healthier at 65? New commissioning, new markets, new economicsSpeakers include: Health minister Ben Bradshaw; Mark Britnell, director of commissioning...
Fire Control Costs Set to Double, FBU Claims
Plans to replace 46 local fire control rooms with nine regional centres will cost more than double the government s estimates and almost nine times as much as first planned, the firefighters' union has claimed.The Fire Brigades Union drew on a series...
Foundation Trusts Predict Surpluses
NHS foundation trusts are aiming to make surpluses totalling £339m this financial year - more than 90% up on last year's predicted levels, the regulator Monitor has revealed.The largely autonomous NHS bodies are set to spend the excess cash on service...
Is PFI on the Critical List?
New Labour's millennial NHS Plan promised to build 100 new hospitals in England by 2010, largely through the Private Finance Initiative. Government figures suggest this target will be met, but then the programme will come to an abrupt end as funding...
Letters
You can e-mail your letters to letterstoeditor@publicfinance.co.uk or fax them to: 020 7543 5793. Please include your name and address and a daytime phone number, the editor reserves the right to edit lettersThe North needs more investmentHaving worked...
Make Energy Firms Pay for Insulation Programme, Say Council Leaders
Energy companies should forgo some of their eye-watering profits' to fund a national home insulation programme, town hall leaders have said.The heads of all four of the Local Government Association's political groups - Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat...
Payment by Results 'Undermined' by Coding Errors
An Audit Commission study revealing significant levels of error in the coding that underpins the payment-byresults system should be a call to action for both providers and commissioners, NHS leaders have said.Results of the commissions first clinical...
Reorganisation for No Good Reason
Far away from the Westminster village, seemingly out of reach of a questioning media, a rather arbitrary reorganisation of English local government is under way. It is being pushed through in the name of efficiency, amid claims from the Department for...
Round-Up
* Former Local Government Association chair Lord BruceLockhart has died of cancer at the age of 66. A former leader of Kent County Council, Sandy Bruce-Lockhart was LGA chair from 2004 to 2007, where he led the drive to persuade government to devolve...
RSLs Have Stepped Up Their Housebuilding Schemes
Social landlords are propping up the house building industry by embarking on more schemes while private development programmes are put on hold.Starts on new homes by registered social landlords rose by 56% between the second quarter of 2007 and the same...
Scots LibDems Announce New Leader
Former transport minister Tavish Scott has been elected leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.The Shetland MSP takes over from Nicol Stephen, who resigned last month, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.Scott, latterly the party's...
Scots to Improve Palliative Care
The Scottish Government is to publish a national plan to improve services for the terminally ill, following an Audit Scotland report that calls for a more consistent approach to palliative care.In a report, Review of palliative care services in Scotland,...
Tenants' Defender
Two months ago, Peter Marsh stood up in front of housing professionals and made what on the face of it was a fairly damning criticism of the organisation where he works. He said that the Housing Corporation was too close to registered social landlords...
Time to Grasp the Social Care Nettle
The warning from care services minister Ivan Lewis this month that there are no easy answers to the adult social care issue hardly came as a surprise. There are, nevertheless, huge expectations riding on next year's promised green paper, despite the...
Voting System Needs Updating, Says Watchdog
The Electoral Commission has announced plans for a controversial revamp of the British electoral system in an effort to persuade more people to vote.In a report published on August 27, the commission said the rules on running elections should be simpler....
Wrong Emphasis on Waste Targets, Warn Peers
As councils congratulate themselves on increasing household recycling rates, a House of Lords committee has highlighted a problem that could wreck the drive to cut down on landfill. Of Britain's waste, 91% is produced not by households but by shops,...
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