Daily Archives: February 4, 2011

My colleague Nick Timmins passes on the information that Julian  Le Grand, the former health adviser to Tony Blair, is to lead a new task force for the coalition. It’s aimed at helping public servants quit their current jobs to create employee-owned mutuals and sell their services back to central and local government and the NHS.

It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the brainchild of Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister (pictured), who is driving many of the changes to the machinery of government change. Maude hopes that other NHS workers will emulate the case of Swindon, where doctors and nurses working with the local authority are planning to take ownership of a jointly run health and social service. Read more

Yesterday there was plenty of attention on Ipsa, the MPs expenses watchdog, which was releasing all expense claims for September and October 2010 on its website.

More curiously, an eagle-eyed reader pointed out to us that many MPs are trying to pay their staff bonuses where they have not already used up their annual staffing allowance. Although bonuses are banned under the rules IPSA has not rejected the requests outright. Read more

Ed Miliband will make a speech in the north-east today in which he warns that Britain is heading for its widest ever aspiration gap between young and old. It’s an attempt to drive home his message on social mobility, which will be a key theme in the coming months.

Miliband will say that the “British Promise” that every generation will do better than the last is “being destroyed” – “there is a risk that the next generation will find it harder to continue in education, have a decent job and own a home than their mothers or fathers.”

Leave aside the nakedly political aspect of the message, which is partly designed to detach any remaining youngsters from the Lib Dem fold. It’s a classic bid for aspirational Middle England support.

Miliband may also face questions on whether the facts support his case given that he was a key player in the New Labour era, where social mobility didn’t exactly blossom.

The Cabinet Office itself produced a report last June saying that family background was a bigger factor for determining life chances in Britain than in France, the USA or Germany  – even after 13 years of a Labour government. Read more