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Editing the "Staggers": "That we are still here after 99 years speaks for itself"

Interview with New Statesman editor Jason Cowley.

Known affectionately as The Staggers, left-of-centre weekly the New Statesman has acquired a reputation for "staggering on" as is it were.

The last change of ownership came in April 2008, just before Jason Cowley’s recruitment as editor. Mike Danson’s Progressive Media bought out Geoffrey Robertson MP – a year before it would take over Press Gazette from Wilmington Media.

At the time the NS was losing circulation fast (down 12.7 per cent year on year)after some gains under previous editor John Kampfner. And former Granta and Observer Sport Monthly editor Cowley says it was a similar story online.

"Our web presence has been transformed over the past two years. We no longer consider ourselves to be just a magazine but a rolling daily operation and very actively involved in the political blogosphere."

Read more of this story at Press Gazette


Dominic Ponsford is editor of 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.