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The five must-read posts from today, on Gaza, social mobility and Chilcot

1. It's time David Miliband went to Gaza and saw the injustice

Over at LabourList, Jeremy Corbyn MP reports back from a visit to Gaza and says the Foreign Secretary must witness the "strangulation" caused by the siege for himself.

2. Social mobility fact-check for Isaby

Next Left's Sunder Katwala rebuts Jonathan Isaby's claim that social mobility rose under Margaret Thatcher.

3. Brown/Darling ponder another Budget giveaway

The FT's Jim Pickard says the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are planning to use the windfall from lower benefit payouts to fund another giveaway.

4. There will be wry smiles as Chilcot wades into political waters

Gary Gibbon says Tony Blair's closest supporters are delighted that Gordon Brown's own role will come under scrutiny.

5. The Conservatives are playing a dangerous game with their draft manifesto

The Telegraph's Will Heaven argues that the Tories are unwise to look to Barack Obama as their campaign guru.

 

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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.