Nicholas Timmins

There is one statistic that really hammers home how expensive the 10p U-turn is. About £2bn of the £2.7bn in compensation is going to those who had already won from the 2007 Budget. Officials insist this was the only simple and quick solution. But there was another way that was cheaper and more comprehensive.

Ian Mulheirn, chief economist at the Social Market Foundation and a former Treasury official, thinks he has the answer. He believes the chancellor could have compensated all those who lost out for just £1.5bn. By contrast, the chancellor’s plan was almost twice as expensive but only covered 80 per cent of the 10p rate losers. Read more

Nicholas Timmins

aradarzi.jpg Lord Darzi’s pledge yesterday that future health service changes will be evidence based and subject to external review is all aimed at making some entirely necessary changes to the shape of services more understandable and palatable.

As part of the reassurance, service changes will be put through the government’s “gateway review” process, one that subjects major government projects to peer review to identify failures and risks early so they can be put right. Read more