I went along to a PAC hearing the other day because Simon Fraser, permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, was being grilled on recent currency trades at the department which left it with a £150m black hole. I co-wrote the original story about this with Alex Barker, formerly of this parish.
In the course of the hearing it emerged that all government departments are ordered by the Treasury to do their currency hedging on the same day of the month: and that it is the 15th. Read more
Ed Miliband left David Cameron on the ropes early on in prime minister’s questions today by probing him about the details of the NHS reorganisation.
The Labour leader pointed out that the number of NHS statutory organisations was growing from 163 to 521 – including “health and wellbeing commitees,” “national commissioning boards”, “clinical networks”, “clinical senates” and so on.
This is not the kind of language Cameron seemed to promise in opposition when he vowed to cut bureaucracy and to end top-down reorganisations of the NHS.
Miliband then pressed home the point that the government has spent £852m making NHS staff redundant, particularly on scrapping the primary care trusts. Would the government be rehiring any of those people, he asked? Read more
Sajid Javid is putting forward a 10-minute rule bill next month proposing that the government legally caps the UK’s national debt.
Javid, who climbed the ranks at Deutsche Bank before joining in the Tory 2010 intake last May, wants the coalition to set net government borrowing at a certain percentage of GDP. Read more