Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. Rather than prices, David Cameron should fix the energy mess (Guardian)

If a Tory prime minister can 'pass a law' on utility bills, then he can make a decision on where our power should come from, writes Simon Jenkins.

2. Brexit: Europe loses patience with London (Financial Times)

There have been many crises in the UK’s relationship with the EU, but this one feels different, writes Philip Stephens.

3. Elected police commissioners: a criminal waste of a good idea (Daily Telegraph)

Directly electing police commissioners was an arresting idea screwed up by our political masters, writes Fraser Nelson.

4. Britain does not have to accept stagnation (Financial Times)

There is no reason to persist with a flawed strategy and ignore other ideas, says Martin Wolf.

5. Today’s top jobs are too big for anyone (Independent)

Perhaps some bodies – the Bank of England, the BBC – are too complex to be managed successfully by any single individual, writes Mary Dejevsky.

6. Of all the wild Tory dogma, this cut-price baby farming is the worst (Guardian)

Liz Truss's plans for childcare on the cheap will undo all the progress Labour achieved on early-years education, says Polly Toynbee.

7. John Bercow has not kept his word on MPs’ expenses (Daily Telegraph)

If Parliament has cleaned up its act, the Speaker should not be suppressing information, says a Daily Telegraph leader.

8. Energy prices and a coalition shambles (Daily Mail)

If David Cameron wishes to restore the government’s reputation for competence, he is going a peculiar way about it, says a Daily Mail editorial.

9. The Big Society comes naturally to America (Times) (£)

Welfare may be a dirty word in the US but community spirit and generosity fill the gap, writes Alexandra Frean.

10. Syria's future lies in ruins (Guardian)

To mourn Syria's devastated archaeological and architectural heritage may seem trivial, writes William Dalrymple. Yet with it die precious traditions.

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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.