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The Olympics in pictures - 48 hours of action

The best of the last two days of the Olympics as edited by our NS photography Editor.

Boyanka Kostova of Azerbaijan competes in the Women's 58kg Weightlifting at ExCeL.

Britta Heidemann of Germany and A Lam Shin of Korea compete in the Women's Epee Individual Fencing Semifinals.

Yibing Chen of China competes in the rings in the Artistic Gymnastics Men's Team final at North Greenwich Arena.

Tamsin Hinchley of Australia dives for a shot during the Women's Beach Volleyball Preliminary match between Australia and Austria at Horse Guards Parade.

The South Africa defense protest to the referee during the Women's Hockey Match between South Africa and New Zealand at the Hockey Centre.

Yuki Ota of Japan celebrates after beating Benjamin Kleibrink of Germany during the round of 32 Men's Foil Individual at ExCeL.

Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl (R) of Denmark celebrate during their Women's Doubles Badminton match against Yunlei Zhao and Qing Tian of China at Wembley Arena.

Yujie Sun (L) of China celebrates after a point against Rossella Fiamingo (R) of Italy during the quarterfinals of the Women's Epee Individual Fencing at ExCeL.

Tom Daley (R) and Peter Waterfield of Great Britain compete in the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Diving at the Aquatics Centre.

Gabrielle Douglas of the United States of America competes on the uneven bars in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final at the North Greenwich Arena.


Rebecca McClelland is photography editor of the New Statesman
Getty Images.
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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.