Independent on Sunday editor axed amid moves to merge Independent and Standard editorial teams

Job losses expected at both titles.

The Independent on Sunday and Independent are to merge, and the new seven-day-title will have closer integration with the Evening Standard, reports Press Gazette's Dominic Ponsford.

Independent on Sunday editor John Mullin has been made redundant after five years at the title amid plans to merge it with the Monday to Saturday edition.

Further redundancies are in the offing as the Evening Standard and Independent editorial teams are also largely merged.

The cost cuts are needed to curb ongoing losses at The Independent and i, and to allow for investment which is needed for London Live – the Standard’s new TV station -  management has said.

Standard proprietors the Lebedevs last week were awarded the local TV licence for London – under the London Live brand - giving them access to Government funding and channel 8 on the Freeview box.

But while existing newspaper editorial staff will be expected to contribute to the new channel – the move will also be accompanied by a reduction in editorial numbers on the newspaper brands.

Read more at Press Gazette

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The big problem for the NHS? Local government cuts

Even a U-Turn on planned cuts to the service itself will still leave the NHS under heavy pressure. 

38Degrees has uncovered a series of grisly plans for the NHS over the coming years. Among the highlights: severe cuts to frontline services at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, including but limited to the closure of its Accident and Emergency department. Elsewhere, one of three hospitals in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are to be shuttered, while there will be cuts to acute services in Suffolk and North East Essex.

These cuts come despite an additional £8bn annual cash injection into the NHS, characterised as the bare minimum needed by Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England.

The cuts are outlined in draft sustainability and transformation plans (STP) that will be approved in October before kicking off a period of wider consultation.

The problem for the NHS is twofold: although its funding remains ringfenced, healthcare inflation means that in reality, the health service requires above-inflation increases to stand still. But the second, bigger problem aren’t cuts to the NHS but to the rest of government spending, particularly local government cuts.

That has seen more pressure on hospital beds as outpatients who require further non-emergency care have nowhere to go, increasing lifestyle problems as cash-strapped councils either close or increase prices at subsidised local authority gyms, build on green space to make the best out of Britain’s booming property market, and cut other corners to manage the growing backlog of devolved cuts.

All of which means even a bigger supply of cash for the NHS than the £8bn promised at the last election – even the bonanza pledged by Vote Leave in the referendum, in fact – will still find itself disappearing down the cracks left by cuts elsewhere. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.