Chart of the day: a divided Union

EU members feel increasingly unrepresented by their club.

In whose interests is the EU run? "Not ours" is the answer from most member states. The EU commission's new Eurobarometer survey (helpfully summarised by Absolute Strategy Research in its latest briefing) shows that almost every country feels increasingly underrepresented.

Just 38 per cent of EU citizens believe that their interests are taken into account by the EU, compared with 51 per cent who believe they are not. Of the EU's 27 members, only Germany, France, Denmark and Finland feel more represented than a year ago. While 53 per cent of Germans believe their interests are taken into account, just 20 per cent of Greeks do (78 per cent do not).

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UK citizens are only marginally less negative than their Greek counterparts. Just 26 per cent believe the UK's interests are taken into account, compared with 64 per cent who believe they are not.

Of note is the dramatic shift of opinion in Ireland, a country which, like Greece, has ceded its economic sovereignty to Brussels.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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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.