Tessa Jowell quits the shadow cabinet

"Job done," says the former shadow minister for London and the Olympics.

Tessa Jowell has quit the shadow cabinet, saying that it's "job done" now that the Olympics and Paralympics have finished.

The shadow minister for Labour and the Olympics says that her focus will now be on her constituency, Dulwich and West Norwood.

She told the Evening Standard: "It’s very rare in politics to see something through from beginning to end and I’ve been able to do that with the Games."

The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, said:

Over her career, Tessa has been an amazing asset to the Labour Party and to Britain. Her legacy is enormous. What we have seen at the London 2012 would not have been possible without Tessa’s determination and dedication both in championing the bid and playing a major role in delivering the Games. For this the whole country owes her a huge debt of gratitude.

Tessa Jowell. Photo: Getty

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.

Photo: Getty
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The big problem for the NHS? Local government cuts

Even a U-Turn on planned cuts to the service itself will still leave the NHS under heavy pressure. 

38Degrees has uncovered a series of grisly plans for the NHS over the coming years. Among the highlights: severe cuts to frontline services at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, including but limited to the closure of its Accident and Emergency department. Elsewhere, one of three hospitals in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are to be shuttered, while there will be cuts to acute services in Suffolk and North East Essex.

These cuts come despite an additional £8bn annual cash injection into the NHS, characterised as the bare minimum needed by Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England.

The cuts are outlined in draft sustainability and transformation plans (STP) that will be approved in October before kicking off a period of wider consultation.

The problem for the NHS is twofold: although its funding remains ringfenced, healthcare inflation means that in reality, the health service requires above-inflation increases to stand still. But the second, bigger problem aren’t cuts to the NHS but to the rest of government spending, particularly local government cuts.

That has seen more pressure on hospital beds as outpatients who require further non-emergency care have nowhere to go, increasing lifestyle problems as cash-strapped councils either close or increase prices at subsidised local authority gyms, build on green space to make the best out of Britain’s booming property market, and cut other corners to manage the growing backlog of devolved cuts.

All of which means even a bigger supply of cash for the NHS than the £8bn promised at the last election – even the bonanza pledged by Vote Leave in the referendum, in fact – will still find itself disappearing down the cracks left by cuts elsewhere. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.