Other people's business, Monday 13 April

Jewellers and Yahoo!

1. Jewellers needed to ease gold bugs’ pain (Reuters)

Gold has a dual personality, writes Kevin Allison.

2. Yahoo! sheds another boss: Degree of pain (Schumpeter)

Critics of Yahoo! had hoped that when Scott Thompson took over the helm of the web giant in January, he would bring some badly needed stability to a business that had been struggling for years to turn itself around, writes Schumpeter.

3. Self-medication: When waiting is not an option (Babbage)

It takes eight years on average for a drug to receive approval from America's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after clinical trials have been successfully completed, writes Babbage.

4. Pricey Chesapeake medicine highlights its sickness (Reuters)

Pricey medicine can help, writes Christopher Swann and Robert Cyran.

5. JPMorgan’s trading mistakes: A billion here, a billion there (Schumpeter)

JP Morgan, widely considered the best run of all the large banks in America, if not the world, on May 10th provided the kind of news that has become all too common in the financial industry: a $2 billion charge for errant trades, writes Schumpeter.

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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.