The biggest appropriation of Church land since the 1530s.

George Osborne just announced the biggest appropriation of Church land since the 1530s. …

Now the state isn’t quite stealing that land. The land on which academies sit is generally leased to the new academy trusts on long term leases (125 years, for example). But that is basically compulsory: it’s not as if the councils which are losing their schools get any say over whether to sign those leases or not. And to quote some lawyers, fromBrowne Jacobson:

Where the diocese own the land, it is usual for the diocese to grant the academy trust a licence to use the land under the church supplemental agreement

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The London Fairness Commission’s Final Report

London is a global city, yet compared to other cities of its standing the cost of living in London is high. Londoners on average salaries spend 49% of their pay on rent, compared with 26% for those on average salaries outside the capital. The average extra costs for householders who are renting and using childcare is £6,000. Would-be homeowners in London need to earn £77,000 a year to get on the housing ladder[1]. Across the UK, a first-time buyer needs a minimum income of £41,000.

The London Fairness Commission’s recommendations include: Continue reading

NHS underfunded

In 2000 the UK spent 6.3% of its GDP on health once public and private spending is added together (this is done to take into account the social insurance schemes that exist in some countries). Under Labour this rose and by 2009 it had hit 8.8%, which was above the EU average in 2000.

But the boom years had also prompted other nations to increase their spending so that by 2009 the EU average (for the 14 other members compared in 2000) was now 10.1%.

Of course since then the global economy has had to cope with turbulent times and so spending on health has stopped rising. In the rest of the EU it has remained pretty constant, while in Britain it has fallen Continue reading

Weapons manufacturer takes over 400 council jobs in education

NEARLY 400 council jobs across Worcestershire are going to be privatised in a £38 million deal.

Worcestershire County Council’s Conservative leadership has today agreed that an array of school support jobs can be handed to Babcock International from October.

The jobs, known at County Hall as ‘Learning and Achievement’, offer a vast array of advice and help to schools including everything from school admissions, post-16 education, teacher training and educational psychology.
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This NHS crisis is political

Over 2015, the number of national newspaper headlines featuring “NHS” alongside the words bust, deficit, meltdown or financial crisis came to a grand total of 80. Call this the NHS panic index – a measure of public anxiety over the viability of our health service. Using a database of all national newspapers, our librarians added up the number of such headlines for each year. The index shows that panic over the sustainability of our healthcare isn’t just on the rise ­– it has begun to soar.

During the whole of 2009, just two pieces appeared warning of financial crisis in the NHS. By 2012 that had nudged up a bit, to 12. Then came liftoff: the bust headlines more than doubled to 30 in 2013, before nearly tripling to 82 in 2014. Newspapers such as this one now regularly carry warnings that our entire system of healthcare could go bankrupt – unless, that is, radical change ­are made. For David Prior, the then chair of the health watchdog the Care Quality Commission – and now health minister, that means giving more of the system to private companies. Continue reading

NHS spending too low compared to EU-14 and OECD countries

Over the next few years spending on the NHS increased substantially, pushing total (public plus private) spending to 8.8 per cent of GDP by 2009. By then, however, the EU-14 spend (weighted for size of GDP and health spend, and minus the UK) had moved on to 10.1 per cent of GDP. Still, the gap between the UK and its European neighbours was closing.

Since then, however, the gap has started to widen (particularly against countries that weathered the global financial crisis better than the UK) and looks set to grow further. UK GDP is forecast to grow in real terms by around 15.2 per cent between 2014/15 and 2020/21. But on current plans, UK public spending on the NHS will grow by much less: 5.2 per cent. This is equivalent to around £7 billion in real terms – increasing from £135 billion in 2014/15 to £142 billion in 2020/21. As a proportion of GDP it will fall to 6.6 per cent compared to 7.3 per cent in 2014/15. But, if spending kept pace with growth in the economy, by 2020/21 the UK NHS would be spending around £158 billion at today’s prices – £16 billion more than planned.
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London is de-privatising its rail services

This is intereting. We know that the Conservatives have been ridiculing the idea to re-nationalising the national railways, but when the elections come calling and leadership ambitions to be fulfilled, free market/privatisation will have to take back seat. The Tansport for London is in the process of taking over the running of most if not all of London’s rail network routes. Continue reading

The priority for the NHS is healthcare not balancing the books

I would add, before commenting, that Sir Amyas Morse was previously a senior partner at PWC.

Maybe that is what informs his view. I cannot, of course, be sure, but what is offered here is quite extraordinary. First there is surprise that:

Running a deficit seems to be becoming normal practice for acute trusts.

Of course it is! Why on earth would an NHS trust want to underspend the money it has been given? When its job is to provide health services why would it decide not to do that? These are not private sector activities run for gain. They are public sector services run to meet need. In that case of course deficits are what they should expect. That Sir Amyas does not comprehend that leads to doubt as to his fitness for the task given to him.
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NHS trusts are forced to take pay day loans

Some NHS hospitals are so cash-strapped that they are having to take out emergency loans to pay doctors, nurses and other staff salaries every month, HuffPost UK can reveal.

A string of NHS trusts are taking out multi-million pound loans – and having to pay interest on them to the Government – simply to ensure wages are met at the end of each month.
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