Public Finance

Articles from January

A Job Well Done
With unemployment at its highest level in 15 years, the immediate problem is that there are not enough jobs to go round. Reforms aimed at improving the basic functioning of the labour market can help to mitigate the impact of weak growth on jobs and...
All for One?
So we're not 'all in this together' after all. According to the latest British Social Attitudes survey, the public is becoming increasingly individualistic, intolerant of the poor and unwilling to pay taxes to fund services.This might explain the response...
Autumn Statement: Right or Wrong?
one thing is clear after Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement - austerity is the new normal. Recovering from the global financial crisis was always going to be hard. History shows that crises that begin in financial sectors tend to be severe...
Beyond the Meltdown
IT IS HUMAN nature to react quickly to crises while neglecting longer-term but potentially more catastrophic issues. This is certainly the case today across the world, as governments faced with debts and economic stagnation focus almost entirely on getting...
Budget Targets Skills and Schools
The Welsh Government has finalised its budget for 2012/13, putting a particular emphasis on education and skills spending.Extra funding is being targeted at disadvantaged pupils. The School Effectiveness Grant, which aims to improve education and wellbeing...
Chancellor Seeks Views on Local Pay
Public sector pay could be set locally by 2013/14, under plans announced by Chancellor George Osborne.The chancellor wrote to the heads of all the public sector Pay Review Bodies in December to ask for their views on the proposed change, which he said...
Coming Up
LEARNING CURVESOfficials at the National Audit Office are assessing whether the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' apprenticeships programme is offen ng value for money. The study will mainly focus on adult apprenticeships, considering the...
Councils 'Need Bond Guarantees'
Local authorities have been warned that they will need to guarantee each others' debts if a new local authority bond agency is to get the top credit rating needed to make the plans viable.The Local Government Association is set to announce its proposals...
Funds Warn on Investment Plan
A senior local authority figure has warned ministers that plans for pension funds to invest in national infrastructure developments will not be approved 'just to dig the government out of a hole'.Councillor Ian Greenwood, chair of the Local Authority...
Going It Alone
A FEW SHORT months from the start of the self-financing Housing Revenue Account and the removal of a prescribed statutory framework has thrown up a few problems. While few will mourn the end of the Consolidated Rate of Interest for charging debt costs...
How to Coach Teams to Win
The New Year always brings anticipation of change. If s a chance to reflect, to set some new resolutions, and to take a fresh approach. This year is certainly not going to be without its challenges. With the pressure on services increasing, there is...
In Brief
WELSH SET UP £15M FUNDShort-term support for businessesThe Welsh Government has set up a £15m fund to provide short-term, fast-track support to businesses. The Economic Growth Fund will give Welsh firms access to capital investment to create and retain...
Ministers Plan Property Sale
The Scottish Government plans to offload at least a quarter of its property over the next four years, and has hinted strongly that it wants councils and health authorities to follow suit.Alastair Merrill, commercial and procurement director for the Scottish...
Numbers Game
Chancellor George Osborne was forced to admit in November's Autumn Statement that debt will not be under control by the time of the next election and spending cuts will have to continue until 20L7.The significance of this announcement was summed up by...
Out of the Shadows
THE AUDIT COMMISSION has always believed there is safety in numbers. Numbers, audits, balance sheets, data matching - it's what we do. When the numbers don't add up, auditors know there is something worth looking into on the public's behalf.One part...
Responses to Blogs and News on Publicfinance.Co.UK
Before the pension strikeDave Prentis' claim that union members had 'no alternative' but to take action attracted a range of responses* MIKE: It is interesting that local government pensions are deemed unsustainable when benefits accrue at one-sixtieth...
Tax & Mend
AS THE GLOBAL economic crisis has played out, a previously obscure public official has shuffled diffidently to the front of the political stage - not just in Greece, Italy and Spain but also here and in the US. Indeed, this is happening wherever governments...
The Computer Says Yes
POLICY AUTOMATION IS becoming widely used in the public and private sectors - so what exactly is it?All organisations rely on 'policies' to make things happen, to ensure consistency and to prevent undesirable outcomes. While these are relatively easy...
Through a Glass Gloomily
Looking beyond Christmas can be gloomy. January is the month of diets and abstinence, dark days and cold nights. But what lies ahead for local government?Budget-setting will be well advanced but final decisions and public consultations will still need...
Tupe Terms Could Be Binned
Regulations guaranteeing public sector workers' rights when services are outsourced could be scrapped, according to an employment law expert.A review of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) rules was announced by Chancellor George...
Vote Dispels Fears on Single Force Reform
Scotland's top local government executives have shrugged aside fears that merging eight regional police forces and eight fire & rescue services into single national organisations will undermine local accountability.At a spirited dinner debate in...
Watchdog
WatchWHAT'S GOING ON IN THE WORLD OF REGULATION AND INSPECTIONAudit CommissionNine out of ten councils are on track to stay within their budgets this year, despite 'unprecedented' cuts to their income, according to the Audit Commission's Tough times...
Whitehall Wars
THERE IS AN old anarchist slogan - 'Whoever you vote for, the government will get in.' It has an element of truth because in our system we have a government composed of two parts - 'Westminster', the elected politicians, and 'Whitehall', the permanent...
Whole of Government Accounts Deemed a Success
The first ever Whole of Government Accounts are a 'bigstep forward' for public sector financial management despite being qualified by the National Audit Office last month, according to the Treasury's director of financial management and reportingKen...
Year of Living Dangerously
LOCAL AUTHORITIES HAVE had to cope with significant changes since the 2010 Spending Review. The cuts announced last October increased the strain on resources, forcing many councils to introduce new models of service provision. More than a year on, many...
Your Views
Letters, emails and online comments on the magazineJapan does not hold answerMalcolm Prowle and Roger Latham argued that Britain's downturn was not a normal recession but one based on an asset price bubble, as Japan's was - and therefore a different...
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