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GM to invest $220m in two Ohio plants

The automaker will retain more than 5,000 jobs at its Parma and Lordstown plants.

General Motors (GM) has confirmed that it will invest $220m in two plants in north-east Ohio – Lordstown and Parma – which will build the next-generation models of the Chevrolet Cruze. The company, which has invested more than $7.3bn in its US facilities since 2009, will retain more than 5,000 jobs at the facilities in Ohio.

Arvin Jones, manufacturing manager of GM, said:

Thanks to northeast Ohio’s supportive business climate, we’re able to build on a great foundation and steer the Chevrolet Cruze into the next generation. A special thanks goes to Governor John Kasich and his team at Jobs Ohio for their strong leadership and advocacy for GM and our employees.

Jones said the new model will offer new exterior and interior styling, better fuel economy and an improved interior compartment and more storage space. Preliminary work to clear space in the body shop at Lordstown has begun.

The Lordstown Complex has built more than 500,000 of Chevrolet’s compact passenger sedan since production began in September 2010. In 2011, the Parma Metal Center shipped about 60 million parts and processed more than 1,000 tons of steel a day to serve the majority of GM vehicle lines produced in North America. Parma has more than 1,400 dies and can produce up to 100 million parts a year.

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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.