In pictures: Miliband meets Obama

Photos of the Labour leader’s first meeting with the US president.

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Credit: Getty Images.

By now you'll have seen the video of Cameron and Obama's table tennis match at a school in south London, so here are some photos from Ed Miliband's first meeting with the US president.

Accompanying Miliband were Harriet Harman, Douglas Alexander and his consigliere Stewart Wood. The pair met for 40 minutes and reportedly discussed foreign policy and the challenges facing the progressive left (as a recent NS leader noted, the centre left holds or shares power in just eight European countries).

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Credit: Getty Images

Obama also praised the last Labour government for helping to prevent a global financial meltdown by acting in concert with the US at the G20 summit in 2009. Continuing the theme of sport, Miliband's gift to Obama was a London 2012 basketball.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
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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.