In this week’s New Statesman: Brown’s last stand

Gordon Brown interview | Ed Balls: I’m no tribalist | John Pilger: Parties of war.

cameron danger-3:NS.qxd

With just one full day of campaigning left, this week's New Statesman provides you with all the insight and analysis you need before you vote.

In our cover story, Jason Cowley speaks to Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson as the pair reflect on 13 years in government and prepare for the final leg of the campaign. Brown insists he will fight on to the end but acknowledges that, should he lose, his decisive response to the financial crisis will be his legacy.

Elsewhere, our leader endorses a Labour-Lib Dem coalition and urges readers to vote tactically on Thursday. Also don't miss Mehdi Hasan's interview with Ed Balls, which has led the news agenda today after the Schools Secretary hinted that Labour supporters should back the Lib Dems in seats where they can beat the Tories.

Away from Labour, our political correspondent, James Macintyre, looks at the party revolt David Cameron will face if he fails to become prime minister on Friday. And John Pilger argues that all three party leaders remain committed to the war agenda followed by Tony Blair.

All this, plus Charles Kennedy on why the Liberal Democrats are the future now, Peter Wilby on the media's reaction to "Bigotgate" and Kevin Maguire's diary from Westminster.

The issue is on sale now, or you can subscribe through the website.

Sign up now to CommentPlus for the pick of the day's opinion, comment and analysis in your inbox at 8am, every weekday.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

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.