Public Finance

Articles from April 2008

A Week in Politics
It used to be Tony Blair who regularly faced the worst week of his political life; now Gordon Brown is getting to know what it means. In the past seven days the prime minister has been forced to make a humiliating compromise on the abolition of the 1Op...
Blears Says No to Migration Contingency Fund
Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears said this week that councils were vital in managing the impact of immigration on communities - but she rejected calls for a contingency fund for town halls.Speaking to MPs on April 22, Blears said that Local Strategic...
Councils Dragging Their Feet over Social Homebuy
A government scheme that encourages tenants to buy shares in the homes they rent from social landlords is being largely spurned by local authorities.Two years after it was launched as an alternative to right to buy, just ten councils are offering Social...
Councils Offer Licences for Gazetteer Use
A database of up-to-date and comprehensive information on addresses in England and Wales compiled by 376 councils is to be made available for commercial use next week.The National Land and Property Gazetteer, a central hub created by planning authorities,...
Councils Warned to Prepare Now for Exodus of Retiring Workers
All councils need to face up to the reality of their ageing workforces, the Improvement and Development Agency has urged.Joan Munro, the IDA's national adviser for workforce strategy, said local government had the oldest workforce of any sector in the...
Counter Attacks
Local authorities are used to finding themselves between a rock and a hard place. But the post office closure programme has squeezed them into a very uncomfortable position. On one side are angry residents demanding the protection of community services...
Darling Defies Critics to Hit Borrowing Target
Chancellor Alistair Darling has met his borrowing target for 2007/08 according to the latest public finance figures, providing some much-needed good news for the government on the economy.The Office for National Statistics said that government borrowing...
Events
April* APRIL 29Public Sector Forums event Meeting new challenges in environmental servicesChair: Sarah Schofield, head of StreetScene, Burnley Borough Council.Speakers include: Paul Bettison, leader, Bracknell Borough Council and chair, Local Government...
Firm Convictions
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into force on April 8 this year. The Act remedies decades of difficulties in prosecuting large organisations that have caused the death of an individual or individuals by gross negligence.The...
Heart Surgeon to Take Charge of IT in NHS
The Department of Health has appointed a leading heart surgeon to oversee the NHSs use of IT.NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, formerly director of surgery at the Heart Hospital, University College London Hospitals Trust will also become director...
Letters
You got it wrong over pay protestYour news story, 'Public sector unions unite for day of protest over pay', does not reflect Unison's position on health pay (April 18-24).Unison did not 'sign up to' the 8.1% pay deal. We negotiated the package with the...
Making a Crisis out of a Drama
During a recent conference, one of my academic colleagues, an unreconstructed Marxist, went off on a splendid riff about the current financial crisis. It was, my colleague said, the biggest crisis of capitalism since 1929 and on a par with it.My first...
MPs Praise Pensions Watchdog
MPs have praised the new Pensions Regulator for identifying schemes where members' benefits are at risk, after damning its predecessor body for 'failing to see the wood for the trees'.The Pensions Regulator, whose role is to protect the 20 million people...
MPs to Review Budget Losers despite 10p Tax U-Turn
The Commons Treasury select committee is to pursue its inquiry into the effect of the Budget on low-income households in spite of the government's U-turn on the 10p tax rate.The inquiry was announced as the furore over those who lose out through the...
PAC Doubts Olympics' Costs Are under Control
Assurances by Olympics minister Tessa Jowell have failed to ease fears that the cost of staging the 2012 Games in London will continue to escalate.In a scathing report this week, the Commons Public Accounts Committee castigated the Department for Culture,...
People
MOVESNigel Kennedy has joined Public Sector Consultants as a consultant. He leaves Gloucester City Council where he was assistant director (finance and asset management).Michael Rowe has been appointed finance manager at Spennymoor Town Council. He was...
Public Names the Top Ten Social Evils
Individualism, greed and the breakdown of family and community are among today's top ten social evils, according to a survey by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.The British public blames government, media, big business and religion, as well as the loss...
Remove Obstacles in Way of Elected Mayors, Says IPPR
Every major town and city in England should have a directly elected mayor, the Institute for Public Policy Research urged this week.The call comes in the run-up to the hotly contested election for mayor of London on May 1, with Labour's Ken Livingstone...
Round-Up
* Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has announced a review of the way Britain's airports are run after a report from the Competition Commission said that BAA's monopoly was not necessarily in the public interest. The review would look at how to improve...
Scotland's Colleges Move Back into the Black
Scotland's further education colleges have improved their financial performance, moving from an overall deficit of £6m in 2002/03 to a £16.9m surplus in 2006/07, according to Audit Scotland.The watchdog had highlighted concerns about the sector and the...
Scots Government Forced to Consult on Alternatives to Local Income Tax
The minority Scottish National Party government is facing further problems over its controversial plans for a local income tax after being forced to include alternatives in its consultation.On April 17, the Scottish Parliament backed a Green Party amendment...
Social Insurance 'Should Fund Care'
People should be compelled to save for social care in their old age as part of a social insurance model, an NHS Confederation paper argues.As access to funding for personal care is means tested, many older people have been forced to sell their homes...
Sound and Fury over 10p Tax
Gordon Brown, in the end, did enough to buy off the backbench revolt over the abolition of the 10p tax band, which had threatened a Commons defeat and even an early exit from Number 10.But how did the prime minister get himself into such a pickle in...
Time to Keep a Closer Watch on Where the Money Goes
It is ironic that a government that has striven to court business over the years has apparently missed one of the commercial sector's principal lessons - always keep a sharp eye on the bottom line.Compare a typical company's reports with the confused...
Town Halls: The Next Generationf
What skills will tomorrow's council chief executives require to face the vast policy and operational challenges of running a modern local authority? With some 2 million council staff now representing the largest sector of the UK's workforce, and with...
Town Halls to Rehearse Carbon Trading
A simulated market for carbon trading between local authorities will open for business at the end of the month, as a pathfinder for what will be a legal requirement in two years' time.The Local Government Information Unit launched the Carbon Trading...
Work Foundation 'Debunks Myths' about Effects of Migration
An employment think-tank has claimed that interest rates and inflation are lower as a result of high immigration, just weeks after a House of Lords committee questioned the national economic benefit of migrant workers.The Work Foundation published Migration...
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