Daily Archives: July 13, 2010

Jim Pickard

Those close to the centre of power are briefing that they want to target departments which are not “public-facing” such as DCMS (culture) and DCLG (communities) in October’s spending round.

When you get into the minutiae of how budgets are spent, however, you end up with some tricky decisions very fast. Take DCLG: most of its funding ends up with local authorities, which provide many services that are very much public-facing; swimming pools, schools, bin collections etc.

I wrote a devil’s advocate Cut of the Day last week on the National Affordable Housing Programme – funded by the DCLG – which spends billions on building new social housing. The coalition will also hope to make massive savings from the £561m regional development agencies budget.

Otherwise, if you go through the department’s resource spending from last year the scale of the task ahead becomes more clear. Some spending is evidently useful (eg the fire service). And many of the programmes which sound the most superfluous turn out to be less ridiculous than they appear.

Supporting People: This may sound vague beyond belief but it provides support for the vulnerable in their homes – eg 800,000 pensioners. The point of the programme is that without it many of the recipients could end up in hospital or old people’s homes; at higher expense. The cost has dropped from £1.6bn to £15m as it has been absorbed by the larger “area-based grant”. Read more

Kiran Stacey

Mili-D hopes he will be in this position come Sept 28

Mili-D hopes he will be in this position come Sept 28

It always seems a particularly excruciating element of any awards process that the nominees have to write their acceptance speeches before they know whether they have won. How do you stay coolly detached about the result if you’ve already planned what you say in one of the greatest moments of your life?

In that spirit, pity the poor Labour leadership candidates. They will find out on Saturday, September 25, which one of them has won the election to become leader of the party and leader of the opposition. The winner will then have to deliver the leader’s speech to conference on Tuesday – the pinnacle of any of their careers so far. Read more

Jim Pickard

You have to admire Ed Balls for his persistence. On this morning’s Today programme he suggested that the New Labour battles between the Brown and Blair camps were merely a spot of “creative tension” that led to “great achievements.”

Bear in mind that there were vicious screaming matches between the two men and periods where they were barely on speaking terms – creating dysfunction at the top of the government machineRead more

Jim Pickard

Baffled and perplexed by plans to shake up NHS - Philip Stephens in the FT
Lansley is in a hurry and may lose control - Nick Timmins in the FT
I was always thinking straight unlike some colleagues - Mandelson serialisation continues in Times
Short jail sentences are pointless – David Cameron in Daily Mail
Many Tories hate David Cameron – Tim Montgomerie at ConservativeHome
Mark Hoban mulls tax on bank profits – FT