Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read blogs from today, including Boris Johnson, the Iraq inquiry and Trident.

1. Is Boris engaged in a bid to raise his profile?

As Boris Johnson prepares to challenge cuts to London's £7bn budget, the FT's Jim Pickard reports that the mayor has told his team he needs some "new" campaigns to raise his profile.

2. Peter Mandelson's tell-not-quite-all memoirs

The Economist's Bagehot says the surprising thing about Mandelson's memoirs is how closely the "inside" account matches the account already familiar from the press.

3. The man behind the Iraq inquiry

Paul Waugh explains why, without the former UN diplomat Carne Ross, the Iraq inquiry may never have happened at all.

4. What next on Trident?

Liberal Democrat Voice's Mark Pack says Trident's future is still up in the air, but there's a welcome emphasis on the role non-nuclear forces need to play.

5. Diane Abbott launches new hyper-visual website

At LabourList, Alex Smith reports on the launch of the leadership candidate's "stylish and very visual" new website.

Subscription offer: Get 12 issues for just £12 PLUS a free copy of "The Idea of Justice" by Amartya Sen.

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.