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Channel 4 scraps Jonathan Ross chatshow deal

Potential £10m deal rejected by broadcaster.

A two year deal that would see Jonathan Ross present twenty chatshows a year for Channel 4 and net his production company up to £10m will no longer be going ahead, pending the arrival of new chief executive David Abraham who is believed to have reservations about the agreement.

"We continue to talk to Jonathan about working together," a Channel 4 spokesman said. A spokesman for Ross declined to comment.

It is understood that other broadcasters, including BSkyB and ITV, are not currently negotiating with Mr Ross. Both broadcasters declined to comment.

Mr Ross began his presenting career at Channel 4 with The Last Resort 1987, but later moved to the BBC where he currently hosts a BBC1 chatshow, Friday night with Jonathan Ross, a BBC Radio 2 programme and a BBC1 film review, Film 2010 whose final edition was recorded this week.

"In response to a number if queries ... yes, it my last ever film 2010 tonight. But on to bigger and better things soon," Mr Ross posted on Twitter. His three year BBC deal worth £16.9m ends this July and his departure was announced in January, although he has said he will continue to host BBC1's Comic Relief and the Bafta film awards for the Corporation.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.