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Television income causes 150 per cent rise in News Corp profits

News Corp has recorded a 150 per cent rise in profits for the final three months of 2010.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation recorded a 150 per cent leap in profits in the last three months of 2010, mainly through a vast increase in television income, the company said last night.

Reporting its second quarter results, News Corp said it had a net income of $642m (£385m) compared with net income of $254m in the second quarter the previous year.

Total revenue was $8.76bn in the last three months of last year, a marginal increase on the $8.684bn made in the same period the previous year.

However, the company said its strong results had been pegged back by restructuring at MySpace which has cost it $275m. In a conference call senior executives hinted that News Corp may sell off the beleaguered social networking business.

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp, said: "News Corporation's second quarter results demonstrate the mounting vigour of our global channels business.

"In the US market, our cable channels are still expanding and adding subscribers, while increasing their revenues and profits at a double-digit pace on the strength of affiliate fee increases and buoyant advertising markets.

"I am also pleased with the continued recovery of our US broadcasting business, including our local TV stations and the Fox Broadcasting Company, which posted its best quarterly profit in two and a half years.

Full story at the Press Gazette.

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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.