Public Finance

Articles from May 2008

Business Berates Public Procurement Scheme
A new procurement procedure designed to elicit more speedy decisions is not working well, business leaders said this week.Latest CBI research has found considerable unhappiness among businesses over how 'competitive dialogue' is working in practice.Competitive...
Businesses Fear Councils Will Use Rate Powers to Plug Finance Gaps
The economic downturn has heightened business concerns about the new supplementary business rate, the British Chambers of Commerce has told Public Finance.The government's draft legislative programme, set out earlier this month, promised a Business Rates...
Cash Fails to Halt Youth Crime
Ten years of bold reforms and massive investment have failed to have any measurable impact on reducing youth offending, says an authoritative new study.The report, Ten years of Labour's youth justice reforms: an independent audit, by researchers at the...
Dementia Cases to Soar, Say Experts
Time is running out for the government to prepare for a huge increase in the number of people suffering from dementia, health experts are warning.As the King's Fund published its year-long study on future mental health needs, the NHS Confederation's...
GDP Revision Gives Darling Borrowing Space
A change in the way gross domestic product is calculated could get the government off the hook as its fiscal rules are threatened by worsening economic forecasts, experts have suggested.The government faced more gloomy financial news this week as both...
Green Gridlock
The trouble with U-turns is that they are rarely one-offs. Ministers who correct one mistake inevitably find themselves swamped with demands to reverse a wide range of controversial policies.So having seen the error of its ways on the 10p tax rate, the...
Hey, Big Spender. .
The public sector is a big customer, spending more than £150bn a year on the goods and services it requires to provide services. But now it also needs to be bold. Procurement policies can help the government achieve some of its major policy objectives,...
Keeping Right On
With the dust now settling on last week's Crewe and Nantwich by-election, not to mention the local and mayoral election results earlier this month, there is no doubt that the political landscape has shifted perhaps decisively.The Conservatives have seen...
Learning Lessons
If the media are to be believed, sponsors of city academies are unwelcome in education circles. They are seen as not only gaining control of public assets cheaply but also receiving favours or financial rewards from the role. Indeed, the popular BBC...
More Than a One-Night Stand
The early impressions were positive. The first date went well and even the day trip to Crewe was surprisingly jolly. But now David Cameron is on his second date with the voters and is - to coin a phrase looking to close the deal.The Tory leader has earned...
MPs Push Personal Carbon Allowance Scheme
Introducing personal carbon allowances - with credits that individuals could spend on electricity or petrol - would do more to reduce climate-changing emissions than green taxes, a committee of MPs has claimed.In a report published on May 26, the Commons...
NHS Managers Defend 'Spending Spree'
NHS leaders and experts have defended an apparent end-ofyear spending bonanza, without which the health service's surplus for 2007/08 could have vastly outstripped the £1.8bn figure set by the Department of Health.Anecdotal reports have suggested that...
'Public Service Ethos' Generates Hours of Unpaid Work
Public sector staff are putting in 120 million hours of unpaid overtime a year - the equivalent of 60,000 extra workers, Bristol University academics have found.Research examining the 'public service ethos' found that teachers, NHS staff and workers...
Radical Reforms Proposed to Infant Teaching
School teaching should be radically overhauled and given a new emphasis on the needs of the youngest children if the recent plateau in pupil progress is to be addressed, a centre-Left think-tank has said.The influential Institute for Public Policy Research...
Reading the Small Print
In the furore over the 10p tax band, one issue has been largely overlooked - the role of Parliament in approving (or not) government expenditure plans. Frank Field's famous amendment was not just of huge political significance, it was also of immense...
Regeneration Plans Could Be Hit by Credit Crunch
The government has admitted that plans to regenerate local communities could be thwarted because of the global credit crunch.It has now commissioned 50 experts to examine the impact of tighter credit terms and uncertainty in the housing market on regeneration...
Round-Up
* Fire minister Parmjit Dhanda has announced a new equality and diversity strategy for the fire service, which includes what he described as 'the toughest ever recruitment targets for women and people from ethnic minority communities'. Currently just...
Scots Children's Care Services 'Must Improve'
More than half of residential care services for young people need to improve, Scotland's care regulator has found.In a report published on May 28, the Care Commission says that a number of services use good practice in protecting children, planning for...
Scots Tax 'Breaches EU Treaty'
The Scottish Government's plan for a local income tax has suffered a further setback after claims by a leading professor of law that it 'almost certainly' breaches the European Charter of Local Self-Government.Christopher Himsworth, professor of administrative...
Summer of Discontent Looms as Unions Ballot for Strikes
Ballot papers for industrial action will be sent to almost 1 million union members in local government this week, amid continuing unrest over the government's public sector pay cap.Members of the Unite and Unison unions are balloting their members for...
Swinney Wants Borrowing Powers for Holyrood
The Scottish Government should be given the same borrowing powers as local authorities, Finance Secretary John Swinney has told a parliamentary committee.He said the need for greater financial powers for Holyrood should be considered by the commission...
Use Right to Buy Revenue to Build More Social Housing, MPs Urge
The government must allow councils to use the money raised from housing sales under the right to buy scheme to build more homes, MPs have urged.The Commons communities and local government select committee says an extra 50,000 social rented homes a year...
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