Public Finance

Articles from July 2007

A Delicate Constitution
If the government's green paper on The governance of Britain is constitutional Christmas', as some have claimed, it is unclear whether Gordon Brown is playing Scrooge before or after the ghosts got at him.It certainly looks like an attempt to lay the...
After the Deluge
Health may be his priority and education his passion, but housing is certainly getting its share of the new prime ministers attention.Gordon Brown has promised to make affordable housing 'one of the great causes of our time'. He's even promoted the housing...
Anti-Terror Measures 'Need 56-Day' Detention Period
The Home Office has renewed its call for the pre-charge detention period for arrested suspects to be extended as part of a future counter-terrorism Bill.The government's last attempt to extend the current 28 days to 90 days was defeated in the Commons...
Brown Scores Points for Going Deeper into Devolution
Before he took over, one of the great unknowns of Gordon Browns premiership was where he would position himself on the localism debate. As chancellor, his reputation for control was fearsome, so just how likely was he to relinquish or at least relax...
Complex Benefits System Makes Errors Inevitable, Says Committee
Britain's 'stunningly complex' benefits system has fuelled the rising payment error rates that this week led auditors to qualify the Department for Work and Pensions' accounts for the eighteenth successive year, MPs have warned.By a quirk of the pre-recess...
Deprived Areas 'Less Satisfied' with GP Services
Health Secretary Alan Johnson pledged to improve the convenience and accessibility of GP care this week, after it emerged that patients in deprived areas and those from ethnic minorities were the most dissatisfied with the service.A Department of Health...
Don't Bet on an Early Election
The House of Commons shut up shop for the summer recess on Thursday after a momentous session that Included a change of prime minister, a restructured Cabinet and the almost indecently swift dismantling of the previous incumbent's legacy. In a blur of...
DWP Rejects Jobseeker 'Mega-Contractor' Idea
Gordon Brown's new ministerial team has ditched plans to create 'mega-contractors' that would enjoy lucrative regional monopolies in the forthcoming privatisation of jobseeker programmes.Caroline Flint, the new welfare reform minister, confirmed this...
End of the Line for the PFI?
The administration of contractor Metronet seems to place question marks over the very principles underlying the Private Finance Initiative and public-private partnerships. It is not just a question of what happens to the contracts for the maintenance...
Green Paper Promises to Double Affordable Housebuilding
Ministers have bowed to pressure from councils and social landlords by pledging to nearly double the number of affordable homes built each year by the start of the next decade.A total of £8bn will be spent on new affordable housing during the next three...
Healey Approves Nine Unitary Council Bids
Nine of the 16 bids for unitary status submitted by English local authorities have been given the green light by local government minister John Healey.Announcing the results on July 25, Healey said all the bids had been rigorously assessed. 'They have...
Johnson Takes Tougher Line over ISTCs
Business leaders have warned that the private sector is receiving mixed signals from the Department of Health over the future role it can play in the NHS.The criticism came as Health Secretary Alan Johnson announced that the DoH had terminated its £257m...
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 lettersWrong analysis of two-tier codeI will not...
Mandarin Hints at Separate Civil Service for Scotland
Permanent secretary Sir John Elvidge has come under fire from Opposition parties after disclosing that talks are taking place on the creation of a separate Scottish civil service.In what is seen as a significant change in relationships between Edinburgh...
Our Work Will Not Suffer from Relocation, Says ONS
The Office for National Statistics has hit back at criticisms from MPs that its plans to relocate staff to South Wales threaten the quality of key economic data such as inflation figures.The official statistics body says the relocation programme, prompted...
PAC Knocks Lack of Asbo Evaluations
Antisocial behaviour measures cost £3.6bn a year, but there is no systematic evaluation of whether that money could be better spent, the Commons Public Accounts Committee has found.Committee chair Edward Leigh said: 'A barrage of different antisocial...
Proof of the Pudding
All democratic governments need to show they get value from taxation. But this is especially true now. New Labour has won the argument that good public services matter and it has greatly increased the resources committed to them - but it has not convinced...
Public Services 'Face Major New Pressures'
Demographic and economic forces will force major changes to the nature and scope of public services over the next 20 years, research shows.A study, conducted by CIPFA in conjunction with a range of public and private bodies, suggests that pressures such...
Round-Up
* A report on the third sector, published by the Cabinet Office and Treasury on July 24, has promised more support for charities and social enterprises that want to provide public services. This includes new investment in consultation approaches, work...
Scottish Councils' Housing Debt Rises above £2.2Bn
The housing debt of Scotland's local authorities has risen to more than E2.2bn, official statistics have disclosed.The increasing debt, disclosed this week in Local authority housing income and expenditure 2005/06 to 2007/08, published by the Scottish...
Through the Roof
While everyone is aware that we have severe problems of housing shortage and unaffordability - problems acknowledged in this week's housing green paper - the reasons might not be generally understood.Public housing has dropped from 6.1% of government...
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