CommentPlus: pick of the papers

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

1. Europe has fallen for the Tories, but a quarrel is in the offing (Daily Telegraph)

David Cameron has been received warmly by other European leaders, writes Benedict Brogan, but after the honeymoon, the threats to British sovereignty will persist.

2. For the Lib-Cons, this is an excuse to shrink the state (Guardian)

Labour's reinvention will need to go a lot further if it is to provide a coherent alternative to the coalition's disastrous approach, argues Seumas Milne.

3. Will the right George Osborne stand up? (Times)

The emergency Budget must set out a clear strategy for economic growth and reduce taxation on wealth creators, says Tim Montgomerie.

Read the CommentPlus summary.

4. George Osborne must do more than reduce public spending (Daily Telegraph)

Elsewhere, Andrew Haldenby argues that Osborne must go beyond temporary fixes and begin the move towards a much smaller state.

5. De Gaulle and Churchill have a message for Sarkozy and Cameron (Guardian)

Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron must emulate Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill by building a Europe that speaks with a stronger, more united voice, says Timothy Garton Ash.

Read the CommentPlus summary.

6. Reining in Europe's deficits is just the first step (Financial Times)

European states need to fundamentally change the way they deal with public finances to avoid another debt crisis, say David Cameron and Fredrik Reinfeldt.

Read the CommentPlus summary.

7. The real purpose of public inquiries (Independent)

We have too many inquiries and nearly all of them fail to illuminate, writes Steve Richards. But following the publication of the Saville report, the decision to revisit Bloody Sunday has been vindicated.

Read the CommentPlus summary.

8. RIP BP? (Times)

The oil spill raises profound questions about BP's ability to handle other risks, says a leader in the Times.

9. China and America still march out of step (Financial Times)

There is a persistent atmosphere of distrust between the Chinese and US militaries, writes David Pilling.

Read the CommentPlus summary.

10. If Greece was Northern Rock, Spain is Lehman Brothers (Independent)

Spain's banks are now in the sort of trouble that the British banks were in back in 2008-2009, writes Sean O'Grady.

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

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.