Magazine article Public Finance

A Change but Little Rest

Magazine article Public Finance

A Change but Little Rest

Article excerpt

Events are moving so quickly it is a struggle for PF to keep up. No sooner had I welcomed the "dementia tax" as some bold and encouraging (if fl awed) thinking on the twin problems of social care funding and intergenerational equity, than the issue blew up in the prime minister's face. Th is prompted a hasty and undignifi ed about turn, which only intensified public confusion and mistrust, and Th eresa May saw her Commons majority slip through her fi ngers.

So we head into CIPFA conference in an utterly diff erent environment from what was expected just a few short weeks ago. Voters appear to have checked both the government's hard tilt towards Brexit and its appetite for eternal austerity.

As I write, government attention is focused (rightly) on the disaster of the Grenfell Tower fi re (page 6), another issue with profound consequences for the public sector, May's already compromised authority and the legacy of Conservative ministers. Questions are being asked whether spending cuts were a factor in the blaze as well as over failures to review fi re and safety regulations. The forthcoming public inquiry will no doubt yield some tough lessons for both central and local government.

These are questions for the future. For now, it looks as if a more collaborative approach to Brexit might emerge.

Several politicians from across the spectrum have called for this and Julia Goldsworthy, who chairs CIPFA's Brexit Advisory Commission for Public Services, is stressing the need for the public sector to be part of this approach. …

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