Election 2010 Lookahead: Monday 3 May

The who, when and where of the campaign.

It's a bank holiday, so all campaigning has been suspended. Joke. Here's what is happening three days before polling:

Labour

Tony Blair is expected to be back in the north-east today campaigning for the party he used to lead. Gordon Brown will be in eastern England this morning, before returning to London to speak at an event this afternoon organised by CitizensUK, a body that represents 150 groups including churches, mosques and schools. James Macintyre and Jonathan Derbyshire will be blogging from the event.

 

Conservatives

David Cameron will also be speaking at the central London event this afternoon organised by CitizensUK. The Conservatives will also lay out their plans on equality.

 

Liberal Democrats

Nick Clegg will be back in London this morning to host his party's press conference. He will then join Gordon Brown and David Cameron to address the CitizensUK event in central London.

 

The media

The Daily Politics hosts another of its policy debates. Today it is education with Ed Balls for Labour, Michael Gove for the Conservatives and David Laws for the Lib Dems (BBC2, 2.15pm). Over on Channel 4 there is a Dispatches election special. The journalist Ben Laurence goes behind the scenes of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat campaigns (8pm).

 

Away from the campaign

It's the annual Stilton Cheese Rolling in . . . er, Stilton. This year's theme is "International Dance". Make of that what you will.

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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.