Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. We know a lot about Labour policy already (Independent)

The ideas Balls and Miliband have brought to this conference are distinctive, potentially vote-winning and far more important than their own personalities, says Steve Richards.

2. Romney must prove he is no John Kerry (Financial Times)

The Republican should lay out bold policies in this week’s debate, writes Stanley Greenberg.

3. Miliband and Balls do have a plan, but they needn't reveal all yet (Guardian)

There is no way to duck all cuts, nor is it wise to decide too much ahead of the election, writes Polly Toynbee. The two Eds will not be bullied into it.

4. Miliband needs to give Labour a shock (Financial Times)

Nothing threatens the party more than the perception that it cannot take tough decisions, writes Janan Ganesh.

5. First Labour must shake off its defeat-deniers (Times) (£)

Ed Miliband’s party will not prosper until it stops blaming the voters and accepts why it was rejected in 2010, argues Rachel Sylvester.

6. A rightwing insurrection is usurping our democracy (Guardian)

For 30 years big business, neoliberal thinktanks and the media have colluded to capture our political system, says George Monbiot. They're winning.

7. We are constantly told how clever Ed Balls is, so why can't he give us clear answers? (Daily Mail)

If the shadow chancellor understands the need to cut spending further, because Britain is still spending far too much, he should clearly say so, writes Simon Heffer.

8. Blame the great men for Europe’s crisis (Financial Times)

Answering ‘who is at fault?’ will be important in fixing the mess, says Gideon Rachman.

9. Would any jury have convicted Jimmy Savile? (Independent)

Is the cover-up - if there was one - really so incomprehensible, asks Mary Dejevsky.

10. Zen and the art of slowing everything down (Daily Telegraph)

Returning from a trip to Japan, it seems that in Britain we're always rushing to be where we are not, says Joan Bakewell.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.