Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Sorry, Shirley Williams, but I have to nail your health bill myths (Guardian)

The evidence suggests that if anyone is guilty of trumping truth with tribalism on privatisation and the NHS, it's Williams, says Polly Toynbee.

2. Gordon Brown is nowhere, yet everywhere (Independent)

Without acknowledgement from either side, it is Brown's rulebook that persists, writes Steve Richards.

3. It's unavoidable: we must talk to the Taleban (Times) (£)

The Kandahar tragedy makes it urgent to have all parties at the table - except al-Qaeda, says David Miliband.

4. Irrelevant tax debate shows the sorry state of the coalition (Financial Times)

The toing-and-froing over the top rate has been displacement activity, says Philip Stephens.

5. Neither side is winning, no end is in sight (Independent)

An authoritarian regime can always commandeer what it needs, writes Patrick Cockburn.

6. Labour is losing the economic battle, so it's turning to crime (Daily Telegraph)

No one's listening to the two Eds, writes Mary Riddell. But could law and order policy give them a new audience?

7. United States and Great Britain: an essential relationship (Guardian)

The alliance between our countries is a partnership of the heart - we count on each other and the world counts on that alliance, write Barack Obama and David Cameron.

8. The US labour market is still a shambles (Financial Times)

Little has been done about the underlying structural problems, writes Joseph Stiglitz.

9. Labour's lost liberalism (Guardian)

Now that Blue Labour has come unstuck, the party should reconnect with its orange heritage, argue Patrick Diamond and Michael Kenny.

10. Every Brit should urge their French neighbours to vote to end illegal immigration (Daily Mail)

We should welcome Sarkozy's call to revise the open borders of the EU, argues Janice Atkinson-Small.

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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.