The report has received coverage in today’s media:
The Daily Telegraph
A news article quotes Thomas Cawston, Research Director at Reform, “The only long-term way to address the pressure on hospitals and A&E units is to move care way from hospitals and move investment into new services" (Telegraph).
A news article cites the report, saying “much-needed modernisation of the NHS is being delayed because, unlike other public services, there are few reasons to innovate as funding has been guaranteed during this parliament” (City A.M.).
In a blog for Prospect Magazine Thomas Cawston writes “Ministers have been right to call for reform, but ring-fencing the health budget has been a Pyrrhic victory. Protecting the NHS budget has meant that the service itself has felt protected from the need to change” (Prospect).
An article cites the report, writing that the decision to ring-fence the NHS budget “has meant managers have little incentive to reduce costs, innovate or reform the workforce" (print only).
The Care Quality Commision (CQC), the health regulator, has been accused of concealing its own failings in a report by Grant Thornton.
The review criticises the “dysfunctional working relationship" between the CQC and the rest of the NHS (Telegraph; Guardian; Mail; Sun; BBC Online).
The report also received coverage in the Health Service Journal.
On Sunday Dr Patrick Nolan, Chief Economist at Reform appeared on BBC One’s The Big Questions debating the welfare state and the question of whether young people are paying too much for the old (BBC One).
Allister Heath refers to Reform's work on middle-class welfare in his Telegraph column today.
The column says: “The think-tank Reform puts the cost of middle-class welfare at £31bn a year. Prosperous pensioners should not be getting free TV licences or treated better than the rest of the public.” (Telegraph).
The final report of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards is published today.
The report focuses on the lack of accountability within the industry, and also looks at the Government's management of the state interests in RBS and Lloyds TSB (FT; Times; Guardian; BBC Online).
The aim of the declaration is to prevent multinationals from moving profits to states of lower taxation (FT; Telegraph, Independent, BBC Online).
The Office for National Statistics has reported a rise in inflation to 2.7 per cent, with transport costs the main contributing factor (BBC Online; City A.M.).
Figures released today by the Office for Budget Responsibility predict that the public sector pension bill will rise to £10.6 billion by 2015-16 (Times).
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has released a survey showing that employers are finding it increasing difficult to hire qualified staff.
The share of firms stating that they faced increased competition for qualified staff has risen from 20 per cent in 2009 to 62 per cent this year, one of the areas of critical shortage is in engineering (FT; City A.M.).
The research found only 35 per cent of admissions tutors considered that "evidence of success through a difficult start or background" was important (Times; BBC Online).
Andrew Haldenby is quoted in an FT article on the private sector delivery of police custody suites today.
Andrew says: “The election of police and crime commissioners put a brake on outsourcing but now there is life in the market. It’s important that police forces are starting to club together to do deals …. In the new environment, police forces will do deals separately or in coalitions of the willing. Some deals may be relatively small but at least the market is opening up” (FT).
There has been coverage of Reform’s conference, “A team effort: The role of employers in closing the protection gap” held yesterday, at which Mark Hoban MP hailed the work programme as a success (HR Magazine; Health Insurance Daily).
The “triple-lock” which guarantees generous annual increases in state pensions, cannot be guaranteed after the next general election, Pensions Minister Steve Webb warned yesterday.
A Department for Work and Pensions report reveals the state pension will become £45 billion more expensive over the next 15 years (Telegraph; Mail; Mirror).
It has also been reported that plans are being proposed for the private pensions industry which will see large companies pooling funds in order to generate higher yields and lower fees.
Steve Webb said he backs the proposals for the collective defined contribution scheme (FT).
Reducing the number of Whitehall departments from 20 to 11 would save taxpayers billions of pounds and remove the need for cuts to frontline public services, according to a radical plan proposed by Conservative MP Dominic Raab.
Outlining his plan, Mr Raab pointed out that the UK’s 20 government departments are high by international standards and that: “Britain doesn’t need such a bloated bureaucracy” (Telegraph; Express; BBC New Online).
Over 800,000 pensioners have seen a £2,400 pound decrease on average in their incomes from savings due to poor rates on savings accounts, according to a survey from the fund manager Investec Wealth & Investment.
The survey found that 33 per cent have cut back on holidays, 20 per cent are giving less to family members and 14 per cent are reducing home maintenance (Telegraph).
Heathrow Airport Holdings, the owner of Heathrow Airport, has released a report stating that a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary would lead to the loss of up to 76,000 jobs (FT).
A report by the New Economics Foundation has found that the new HS2 will add little to economic growth and reducing the North-South divide (Independent, print version only).
From October the Care Quality Commission will carry out more detailed inspections of both public and private hospitals.
The inspections follow on from plans outlined by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, earlier this year to measure ethos as well as performance (FT; Guardian; BBC Online).
Up to 5,300 soldiers will be made redundant today, in the third round of job cuts to the Army following the 2010 defence review.
The Ministry of Defence has set a target to reduce the number of regular soldiers from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2017, following cuts to the defence budget announced in 2010 (Telegraph; Independent; BBC Online ).
Matthew d’Ancona covered Theresa May’s speech for Reform in his Sunday Telegraph column yesterday (Sunday Telegraph).
The NHS needs to provide a more coordinated and simplified system of urgent and emergency care, according to an official review of emergency services.
The review led by NHS Medical Director, Sir Bruce Keogh, highlighted a shortage of emergency doctors and found that a lack of clarity surrounding out-of-hours services was causing confusion among patients, and increasing the burden on A&E units (Telegraph; Mail; BBC Online).
The Care Quality Commission will issue a charter of eight “commandments of care” to doctors and nurses in a bid put patient’s rights at the forefront of care.
If reported by patients as breaching these guidelines, hospitals will face being taken over by outside experts, bosses sacked and units closed down until rectified (Telegraph; Times).
The Care Quality Commission has said that it is piloting a system to monitor mortality rates in care and nursing homes, which requires an investigation when there are a high number of deaths.
The system is intended to identify poor care earlier, after evidence emerged that some care homes were failing to report resident deaths to the Care Quality Commission (BBC Online).
Over the last year, small and medium-sized businesses have been unable to access the funding they require to develop growth strategies, according to a survey by Bibby Financial Services.
The survey found that in spite of government schemes 77 per cent of business' who applied for funding were refused the amount they required (Times).
Survey data collected by the Small Business Federation, Barclaycard and Markit published today predicts a further boost to the economy, with business confidence rising, consumer spending growing and pressure on household finances easing (Telegraph).
Labour would extend many freedoms currently enjoyed by free schools to all schools.
Stephen Twigg MP, the Shadow Education Secretary, will set out the plans in a speech today, saying: “giving schools more freedom over how they teach and how they run and organise their schools can help to raise standards” (Telegraph; Times; Guardian; Independent; BBC Online).
The proportion of students from state schools and disadvantaged backgrounds attending top Russell Group universities has fallen in the past decade, according a report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.
The report found that whilst the overall university sector had become more “socially representative” since 2002-3, the most selective universities had become more “socially exclusive”, admitting 126 fewer students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in 2011-12 (FT; Times; Independent; BBC Online).
There is continuing coverage of Theresa May’s speech to Reform’s Annual Dinner on Tuesday (Telegraph, Telegraph; Spectator; Daily Mail; copy of the speech at www.reform.co.uk).
There is a critical shortage of trained engineers in the automotive industry according to Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business (FT).
Migrant workers contribute more to the UK economy than any other major Western state, according to the OECD.
In 2012 migrant contributions to the economy were calculated to be to be worth 0.46 per cent of Britain’s GDP, equivalent to over £7 billion (FT; Independent).
Vince Cable, has ordered a review of “zero hours” contracts.
The number of people on zero hours contracts, under which employers can choose to provide neither work nor pay to employees, has increased by 150 per cent since 2005 (FT; Independent; Mirror).
The Department for Work and Pensions has released data showing a fall in inflation-adjusted pay which has pushed incomes back to the year 2000.
This has driven another 1 million people below the poverty line and raised relative poverty among children by 300,000 (FT; Guardian).
The incomes of pensioners in the UK have increased more than any other age group over the last 30 years, according to a study from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
The figures showed that the median income of the over 60s grew by 2 to 3 per cent between 2007-08 and 2011-12, while it fell by 20 per cent over the same period for people in their 20s (Telegraph; BBC Online).
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said that doctors who block the release of their performance data should be publicly named.
League tables in ten specialties are due to be published on the NHS Choices website next month, including details of mortality rates, in a move to increase transparency in the NHS (Telegraph; Independent; BBC Online).
Pilot payment-by-results schemes where released prisoners are supported to resettle have seen a slight drop in reoffending rates, according to data released by the Ministry of Justice (BBC Online).
Further cuts to the military would seriously damage the army’s “chances of success on the battlefields of the future”, according to the General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff (Telegraph; Independent; BBC Online).
Rt Hon Theresa May MP, the Home Secretary, gave a keynote address to Reform’s 2013 Annual Dinner on the Coalition Government’s progress in delivering public service reform. The speech has received coverage in today’s media.
Mrs May said: “Reform has to be the mantra, because – quite bluntly – there’s no other way…The choice is between salami slicing budgets and accepting that services will just deteriorate ... or being brave, cutting spending – but transforming the way services are provided” (FT; Telegraph; Mail).
The full speech can be found here.
The Government must increase the pace of public sector reform if it is to achieve lasting reductions in the cost of public services, according to the National Audit Office.
The National Audit Office has argued that the Government must go beyond using short term tactics, such as freezing staff pay, and do more to fundamentally reform public services (Telegraph).
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called for George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to end the ring-fencing of NHS and aid budgets.
John Cridland, Director-General of the CBI, believes that the infrastructure projects and the work of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills are “growth-enhancing” areas and should therefore be prioritised (FT).
The number of over-65s in work has risen above 1 million, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The figures show that 1 in 10 people aged 65 and over now has a job, and the number in work could rise to 1.5 million by 2020 (FT; Times; Guardian).
Ofgem has outlined measures to impose fines on the major energy suppliers if they do not trade fairly with smaller firms.
By forcing energy giants to sell electricity at a fair price and post their prices two years in advance, Ofgem wants to create a “level playing field” to increase competition and provide better value for customers (Guardian; Express).
Network Rail is 23 per cent less efficient than its European counterparts, despite fares and funding being 30 per cent higher, according to the Office of Rail Regulation.
The industry regulator said that it should cut costs by 20 per cent during the next 5 years, adding that “we expect them to be operating efficiently by 2019” (Times).
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, yesterday suspended plans to close three NHS children’s heart surgery units.
The recommendation to halt the plans for reconfiguration, designed to concentrate surgery in fewer, more specialist centres, came from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, who concluded that the review was based on: “Flawed analysis of incomplete proposals and their health impact” (Times; Mail; Express; BBC Online).
Doctors and surgeons will be able to withhold information relating to their performance from new Government league tables, according to an investigation by the Daily Telegraph.
The new league tables were introduced by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, to open up the NHS to greater public scrutiny (Telegraph; Mail).
The number of children and teenagers admitted to hospital for problems linked to obesity has quadrupled in the last decade, according to research by Imperial College London.
Annual admissions increased from 872 people in 2000 to 3,806 in 2009 due to obesity related conditions, estimated to cost the NHS around £4.2 billion a year (Times; BBC Online).
State comprehensive schools are failing their brightest pupils, compared to grammar schools, according to a report by Ofsted.
The report found that a third of comprehensive pupils achieving the highest grades at age 11 go on to receive A grades in English and Maths, compared with 60 per cent of those who attended academically selective grammar schools (Telegraph; Guardian; Independent; BBC Online).
The proportion of crimes committed by reoffenders has increased from a fifth to one third over the last decade despite increased funding to target the problem, according to official figures.
The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, will today say: “The last Government threw a lot of money at the system generally, but there is a hard core of persistent offenders that keeps coming back” (Telegraph).
The Leader of the Defence Police Federation, Eamon Keating, will today warn the Ministry of Defence that cuts to its civilian police could put soldiers’ lives at risk.
The Ministry of Defence released a statement, arguing that “in order to balance defence budget, we had to look at how to police our sites more efficiently and making cuts was inevitable” (Telegraph).
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, will today announce a new Whitehall committee to promote regional growth.
The committee will control a budget worth several billion pounds, dedicated to regional growth projects, as part of the implementation of Lord Heseltine’s recommendations (FT; Telegraph).
UK unemployment has fallen by 5,000, according to the Office for National Statistics.
2.51 million people were out of work in the first quarter of 2013 whilst the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.8 per cent (BBC Online).
The Energy Minister, Michael Fallon MP, has announced the creation of the Offshore Wind Investment Agency to increase investment in the UK’s offshore wind industry.
The Offshore Wind Investment Agency is intended to boost investment levels in an industry which the Minister says: “brings enormous economic benefit to our shores, supporting thousands of skilled jobs” (BBC Online).
The Office of Rail Regulation has told Network Rail that it needs to cut costs by £2 billion whilst maintaining customer safety.
The regulator has said Network Rail must improve punctuality, complete projects quickly, improve safety and provide better value for money by putting passengers at the heart of decisions (BBC Online).
The economic downturn has caused an “unprecedented” fall in real wages, with a third of workers taking a pay cut or freeze between 2010 and 2011, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (Telegraph; BBC Online).
The number of patients over the age of 90 being taken to hospital by emergency ambulances has dramatically increased since 2009, adding to the pressure on A&E departments.
Official figures show that there was a 66 per cent increase from 2009-2010 to 2011-2012 in ambulance admissions for the age group (Telegraph, print only; Mail).
The Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, Michael Turner QC, has warned that the poorest in society are being punished by cuts to the legal aid system (Independent).
Andrew Haldenby, Director of Reform, debated the value of teaching assistants on BBC Radio 5 Live this morning.
The programme broadcasts highlights of a trip made by Andrew to a primary school in Hackney yesterday, to see how they use teaching assistants (BBC Radio Five Live, 1hr 35).
Reforms to the GCSE syllabus, including the abolition of coursework, will be announced today by the Department for Education.
The overhaul will seek to make GCSE qualifications competitive with comparable overseas examination systems, including incorporating more advanced algebra into the mathematics syllabus and putting a greater emphasis on grammatical understanding within language courses (Telegraph; Guardian; BBC Online).
Patrick Nolan, Chief Economist at Reform, has written an article for Prospect, arguing that Ed Balls is right that “no sensible plan for rescuing the public finances can fail to look at pensioner benefits”.
Patrick writes: “Whoever wins the 2015 general election will have to make tough decisions on the welfare state. On this Ed Balls has thrown down the gauntlet to George Osborne…In his review of public spending, due on 26th June, George Osborne must now explain how he will put pension spending onto a more affordable footing” (Prospect).
The Institute of Directors has supported the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer’s, Ed Balls MP, proposed cap on state pensions.
The Director General of the Institute of Directors, Simon Walker, said: “Politicians of all parties need to consider bold and wide-ranging reform, including to the principle of universal benefits. The welfare system must focus on those most in need, and means-testing should be considered where possible” (Telegraph).
Three London councils have combined to award a joint outsourcing deal for services, worth £150 million.
Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham have awarded Amey the ten year contract, which builds on existing service collaboration over libraries, children’s services and adult social care (FT).
The UK’s annual pay packet has decreased by £52 billion to the detriment of the economy, according to the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
The TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, has called for a living wage, and employers to be more transparent about pay systems, saying that “millions more have had to reduce their hours or take lower paid jobs”(Guardian; BBC Online).
No financial groups have put themselves forward to run the Government’s £5 billion “Build to Let” scheme, leaving the project in a state of flux.
Private firms have raised concerns that they may have a conflict of interest in participating in the scheme, given that they already lend to the property sector, or that the profit margins are not large enough (FT).
The National Audit Office will next month release a report criticising the Government’s national broadband plan.
The report will criticise the Government’s decision to not hold a competitive bidding process, and that the project is behind schedule (FT; Telegraph).
Manpowergroup has released its quarterly outlook survey, with the job outlook being “firmly positive”.
Net employment outlook is at plus 5 per cent, just below the record plus 6 per cent from the first half of the year (FT; Telegraph).
A recent report by Ernst & Young's Item Club predicts that consumer confidence will improve due to an increase in personal tax allowances and a recovery in the housing market.
Peter Spencer, Chief Economic Adviser to the Ernst & Young Item Club, said the UK "has essentially returned to relying on the consumer to drive economic growth" (BBC Online).
Cuts to legal aid have led to a significant increase in the number of parents taking child custody cases to court, according to Cafcass.
Vicki McLynn, a partner specialising in family law at Pannone, argued that “the withdrawal of public funding for most types of cases has meant court potentially being the first and only option considered by those having to represent themselves” (Telegraph).
Official figures from the Ministry of Justice have revealed millions of pounds of taxpayer money is being spent on haircuts and taxis for inmates.
Reacting to figures showing that more than £4.3 million was spent on taxis and another £84,000 on haircuts for inmates, Priti Patel MP has stated that: “These items need to be first on the list for the spending review to see where savings and efficiencies can be made” (Express).
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, has said that the significant regional variation in mortality rates across the country must drive action to improve public healthcare.
The figures released by Public Health England have revealed disparities in death rates between the North and South of the country, and showed that people in North-West England have a greater risk of dying early than in other parts of the country ( Telegraph; Independent;BBC Online).
Andrew Haldenby, Director of Reform, has written an op-ed in the Telegraph today on the shifts in the Opposition’s fiscal policy, and specifically Ed Balls’, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, comments on pensions yesterday. The paper picks up on the piece in its lead editorial.
Andrew writes: “The UK is in such a state, economically speaking, because it suffered from two great delusions over the past 15 years. The first, which reigned from 1999 to 2010, was that a public spending boom would transform the economy and the state of the public services for the better. The second, which replaced it, was that the deficit could be tackled while leaving large parts of the public sector ring-fenced and protected. Both of these fallacies have now been exposed.” The editorial writes: “Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, confirmed yesterday that his version of an AME cap will include pension spending. That puts him in a position, as Andrew Haldenby notes opposite, to emerge an unlikely winner of his and Mr Osborne’s new game of tougher-than-thou” (Telegraph: article; editorial).
The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ed Balls MP, has pledged to place a cap on the benefits that can be received by pensioners.
Mr Balls has said that “I think it’s important to look across the whole welfare state to say what are the drivers of expenditure. I think many people would not realise that actually today most welfare spending is in fact going to people over 60” (Telegraph; Guardian; Mail; BBC Online).
PwC has given evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration, stating that new immigration rules are over-stringent and bar even wealthy prospective migrants.
As only the British national’s income can be taken into account, many wealthy couples who would not become a burden to the tax payer are ineligible on financial grounds (FT; Times).
An increasing number of private schools are dropping A-levels in favour of alternative international qualifications.
The increase in the number of students sitting alternative exams, such as the International Baccalaureate, is thought to result from their greater international competitiveness and from the desire of private schools to avoid continued “political interference” in the A-Level system (Telegraph).
Schools have resorted to using 10 per cent more supply teachers than last year due to worries about public sector cuts, according to the recruitment agency Randstad Education.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “While supply teacher can play a valuable role in schools, it is important that children have consistency in their learning” (Telegraph).
The IPPR has today called for the Government to re-introduce polytechnics to counter the UK’s technical skills deficit.
Warwick University Vice-Chancellor Nigel Thrift has said that upgrading further education colleges to polytechnic status would: “send out wider signals about the importance of vocational learning” (FT; Telegraph; Times; Independent; BBC Online).
One in four accident and emergency wards are putting patients at risk by failing to provide basic standards of healthcare, according to research conducted by the Telegraph.
In its analysis of Care Quality Commission reports relating to 193 hospitals, the Telegraphfound that 52 had failed to meet at least one of five national healthcare standards (Telegraph).
Analysts from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota will today recommend that the NHS reforms patient interaction, including through the rating of individual doctors.
Michael Brennan, from the Clinic, says that ratings would be a key element of changing hospitals to put patients first, creating a: “supporting and motivating culture”, which Dr Brennan and other analysts believe is lacking in the NHS (Times).
The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond MP, has announced that he will set up an independent watchdog to ensure that the Ministry of Defence attains value for money from security contracts.
The watchdog will ensure that firms compete for defence contracts not currently put out to tender, in a move that is expected to save hundreds of millions of pounds per year (Telegraph).
Following further coverage of Reform’s research on schools spending, Lauren Thorpe, Research and Corporate Partnership Director, appeared on BBC Radio Tees to discuss how schools will need to make tough choices around spending as funding is squeezed.
As part of a live radio broadcast from a local primary school, Lauren emphasised that schools should focus on improving the quality of teaching to increase pupil progress, rather than protecting the number of teaching assistants.
A pilot scheme by Blackpool Council to provide free breakfasts to primary school students has been declared a success, making the pupils happier and more alert as a result.
A £1.3 million programme for all primary school children in the council area will now go ahead; the plan also hopes to boost attendance and punctuality (Guardian).
Ex-service personnel without degrees will be eligible for a new fast-track route to becoming teachers.
The plan will require service leavers to have only two years of training before becoming teachers, and aims to utilise military expertise in subjects such as science and technology where there is a current shortage of trained teachers (Times; Guardian; Independent;BBC Online).
Anthony Hilton has written an article in the London Evening Standard on the need for investment in the energy sector after speaking at Reform’s conference on “Investment in Infrastructure: Making it happen” (Evening Standard; Reform conference).
The Government should reassess the financial pressures that cuts are placing upon local councils, according to the Public Accounts Committee.
The Committee’s Chairman, Margaret Hodge MP, has warned that “central government is cutting funding to local authorities by more than a quarter over four years, but does not fully understand what the overall impact will be on local services” (Telegraph, print only).
The Shadow Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Hilary Benn MP, has pledged to scrap the Coalition’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
Abolishing the NPPF would give local communities more power to “decide where they want new homes and developments to go and then give their consent in the form of planning permission” (Telegraph; Guardian).
A report by the Trade Union Congress has criticised rail franchising, arguing that privatisation has led to higher ticket prices, little investment and a higher cost to the taxpayer (Guardian; Mail).
Tara Majumdar, Senior Researcher at Reform, appeared on Politics and Media on the Islam Channel to discuss the Government’s plans for prison and probation reform.
Responding to comments by Jeremy Wright MP, Minister for Prisons and Rehabilitation, Tara argued that the Government’s prison and probation reforms were a step in the right direction and would provide more focus on the resettlement of prisoners, but that there were still many questions about how it would work in practice (Islam Channel).
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, has announced that the NHS has ten months to provide a solution to the pressure being placed on A&E wards by “vulnerable elderly people”.
Mr Hunt said that the plan will include increasing public confidence in community care services and seeing that GPs are responsible for the care of patients after they leave hospital (Telegraph).
Sir David Nicholson, outgoing Chief Executive of the NHS, has said that the closure of some hospitals and services will be necessary to maintain the provision of high quality care.
Sir David said that with limited future growth on the horizon the only alternative was a “managed decline” of services (Independent).
The pressure on the NHS will drastically increase as nearly half the population in the UK will get cancer in their lifetime by 2020, and survival rates will continue to rise, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.
The charity emphasised the need for a fundamental shift towards aftercare with “more services to help people stay well at home, rather than waiting until they need hospital treatment” or else there would be an added burden on A&E units (Times; Independent; BBC Online).
Andrew Haldenby appeared on Radio Five Live this morning as part of an item on public affairs, based on a “day in the life” of Iain Anderson of Cicero Consulting.
Andrew suggested that the decision to hold a full five-year Parliament has meant that the General Election campaign has started one year early.
Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Opposition, will today announce that should they win the next election, Labour will stay within the 2015-16 spending limits laid out in the Chancellor’s Spending Review on 26 June.
Mr Miliband will announce that although spending may increase in some areas, this would be paid for through either tax rises or cuts in other parts of the budget (FT; Guardian; Independent).
Lord Browne, former Chief Executive of BP, will today argue that the Civil Service is in need of a comprehensive review.
In a speech to the Institute for Government, Lord Browne will say that the Civil Service is based on an era of less complicated government (FT; Guardian; BBC Online).
Figures from the Home Builders Federation show that there have been 4,000 new homes sold under the government’s flagship Help to Buy scheme in its first two months.
The Help to Buy scheme, aimed at boosting the housing market, allows buyers to take out an equity loan from the government for up to 20 per cent of the property’s value (FT; BBC Online).
New data from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply shows that Britain’s services sector is growing at its fastest rate since March 2012.
The purchasing managers’ index increased from 52.9 in April to 54.9 in May (Telegraph; Independent; BBC Online).
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg MP, has announced that proposals to allow nurseries and child-minders to look after more children are being dropped.
The plans were aimed at improving childcare quality and places and lowering costs, but Mr Clegg said that there was “no real evidence that increasing ratios will reduce the cost of child-care for families” (Times; Guardian; BBC Online).
Universities are making “little or no progress” in admitting more students from working class backgrounds, according to a report released today by the Office for Fair Access.
The report finds that less than 15 per cent of students at Cambridge and Oxford are from families with household incomes of below £25,000 (Telegraph; Guardian; BBC Online).
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, has said that the pressure on Accident and Emergency services is a consequence of a lack of viable alternatives.
Speaking on ITV’s Daybreak yesterday, Mr Hunt said, “It is scandalous, the number of people who are using emergency services when actually, if they had a better alternative, they wouldn’t” (Telegraph).
The outgoing Chief Executive of NHS England, Sir David Nicholson, has announced that he plans to launch a strategy to “liberate” the NHS from political interference in his final months in the job.
Sir David said the aim was to “create something which is long-lasting and not something which will shift every time you have either a new executive director or even a new government” (BBC Online).
Andrew Haldenby, Director of Reform, debated restrictions on legal aid spending with Bianca Jagger on Channel 4 News and with Lord Falconer and Edward Garnier MP on the Daily Politics.
Andrew pointed out that the previous Government had proposed a very similar package of reforms and sought £100 million of savings, compared to the Coalition’s ambition of £220 million (Daily Politics, 26.40; Channel 4 News).
A report by BBC Online on the Government’s proposed reforms to legal aid has referred to Reform’s 2011 and 2012 Scorecards as naming the Ministry of Justice “the most radical government department” (BBC Online; Research; Research).
Chris Grayling MP, the Justice Secretary, has described the cost of legal aid as “unsustainable”.
Mr Grayling said that Britain’s “is one of the most expensive legal aid systems in the world” and should not be exempt from the Government’s efforts to get “the best value for money for the taxpayer” in public spending (Telegraph; Mail).
Confidence in the UK economy is increasing, according to economic analysts.
More people feel secure in their job than at any time since 2009, according to a YouGov survey, while figures from Ernst and Young indicate that foreign investment in the UK increased by 2.7 per cent over the last year, and the percentage of companies satisfied with British labour costs increased from 48 per cent to 63 per cent (City A.M.)
Restrictions to student visas will cost the British economy £2.4 billion over the next decade, according to Universities UK.
The enhanced visa requirements were introduced by the Government in 2011 and include interviews and higher English language requirements (Guardian)
The Help to Buy scheme led to residential house building growing at the fastest rate for over two years in May, according to the Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Index (Telegraph).
Britain’s universities could face “significant financial pressures” as a result of a fall in the number of students applying to university, according to a report by Universities UK.
The fall in the number of applicants is thought to be a result of the increase in tuition fees, which has seen more students attend universities abroad or forestall their studies altogether (Telegraph; BBC Online).
Business leaders should give presentations in schools in order to inspire pupils to pursue realistic career paths, according to a report by the National Careers Council.
The report argues that unrealistic career aspirations amongst students, such as the desire to become pop stars or footballers, leaves businesses unable to find young people who have developed the right skills (Times).
Up to 20 hospitals may have to close, and services be transferred to the community, in order to meet financial pressures on the NHS, according to a report by the Academy of Royal Colleges, the NHS Confederation and National Voices.
Mike Farrar, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, argued that “we simply cannot continue as we are at the moment”, and that community services would need to play a greater role so as to alleviate the pressure on hospitals (Telegraph; Times; BBC Online).
A Labour government would not reverse the Coalition's cuts to child benefits, saying the £2.3 billion cost of reversing them would be unaffordable.
The news comes ahead of tomorrow's announcement by Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, that he would support capping the next government’s expenditure on welfare benefits (BBC Online)
Andrew Haldenby, Director of Reform, appeared on Newsnight last night to praise the Opposition’s means-testing of the Winter Fuel Allowance.
Allegra Stratton, Political Editor, described Reform as “right wing spending experts”. Andrew said: “The Coalition has damaged that principle [of universalism] with Child Benefit, taking that away from richer parents. Now we’ve got the Opposition doing pensioners. I can’t think of anyone seriously arguing for a return to big expensive universal benefits. I think we are heading towards a more limited, means-tested welfare state” (Newsnight, 22.52 minutes).
The Institute for Fiscal studies has argued that the wealthiest 10 per cent have suffered the biggest percentage drop in income as a result of the recession whilst reforms to the benefit system by the Coalition have most affected those from lower incomes (FT; Telegraph; Mail).
Following further coverage of Reform’s research on schools spending, Lauren Thorpe, Research and Corporate Partnership Director, and Kimberley Trewhitt, Senior Researcher, appeared on national and local radio to discuss the possibility of making savings through reduced numbers of teaching assistants.
Lauren and Kimberley emphasised that schools will need to make tough choices around spending and this means focusing on what is important – the quality of teaching (Jeremy Vine Show, BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio London, BBC Radio Merseyside).
The Education Secretary, Michael Gove MP, has announced sweeping reforms to the examination system, that will see GCSE’s replaced by a new qualification called "I-levels".
The current grading system will be replaced with a numerical marking system ranging from 1 to 8, and coursework is to be scrapped in all core exams except for science, in a move aimed at providing harder content and greater differentiation among more able candidates (Telegraph; Times; BBC Online).
Andrew Haldenby, Director of Reform, appeared on BBC 2’s Daily Politics yesterday to discuss the six month anniversary of Police and Crime Commissioners.
Andrew argued that some Commissioners had made real strides, including close working with other emergency services and advancing value for money.
Father Greg Boyle, Director of Homeboy Industries, appeared on the Today programme on Saturday following his speech at Reform’s event on “Tackling gangs and youth violence” (BBC Radio 4).
Thomas Cawston, Research Director at Reform, has been quoted by Nursing Times on a recent survey which found an overwhelming majority of NHS HR Directors believe further change is needed to NHS staff pay, terms and conditions.
Thomas said the survey showed there was a “clear need to look beyond the national framework for pay terms and conditions and ask whether hospitals could themselves take a greater lead. There have been a number of organisations looking at the South West Consortium with a great deal of interest and thinking behind closed doors how they could do this themselves” (Nursing Times).
A&E waiting times are at their highest levels for nine years, according to a report by the King’s Fund.
The report found that the number of people waiting more than 4 hours to see a doctor, the NHS target, has almost doubled since last year to 313,000, an increase of 39 per cent on a similar period last year (Telegraph; BBC Online; Mail).
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, has announced plans to allow patients to compare the survival rates for different surgeons.
Mr Hunt said that this increased transparency will drive up standards in the NHS and lead to ”more effective health care, better outcomes, greater accountability, and efficiency” (Telegraph).
The Chair of the Women’s Business Council, Ruby McGregor-Smith, has said that if flexible working was introduced then up to 2.4 million unemployed women could find jobs.
The Council believes that if female participation in the working market was raised to the same level as men, then the annual GDP growth rate would rise by 0.5 per cent (FT; Mail).
Lending by UK banks has fallen by £300 million during the first three months of this year, despite the launch of the Government’s flagship Funding for Lending Scheme.
The scheme was intended to encourage banks to provide new loans to smaller businesses and homebuyers, paying out £16.5 billion to banks since last year, which has caused concern over the continued contraction in lending (Telegraph; Guardian).
Lord Browne will this Thursday release a report on the role of non-executive directors in Whitehall departments.
The report will say that financial discipline is lacking in Whitehall, partly due to failure by departments to consult their directors, and to recommend more cross-government procurement (FT).