Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

Why I, as a journalist and ex-editor, believe it is time to regulate the press (Observer

Will Hutton gives his support to the forthcoming Leveson report.


Despite the sabre-rattling, an attack on Iran is now unlikely (Independent on Sunday


Patrick Cockburn explains why it's now too late for Israel to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.


Gaza grabs the headlines as Congo once more descends into chaos (Observer


Ian Birrell calls for the world to pay more attention to the rebel takeover of Goma.


The first law of social work: politics trumps parental love (Sunday Times) (£) 


Minette Marin comments on the recent case of social workers removing a child from foster parents who were members of UKIP.


Unlike Europe, the Tories can bind together (Sunday Telegraph


Janet Daley excoriates the European governing class.


I see one last, if faint, hope for a truly free British press (Sunday Telegraph


Matthew D'Ancona argues that Cameron should offer the press "one last chance".


Why Dave doesn't give a hoot about the EU budget (Independent on Sunday


John Rentoul argues that Cameron is right to pursue a "wait-and-see" policy on Europe.


David Cameron's boldness over Europe does him credit (Sunday Telegraph


Iain Martin praises Cameron's tough stance during the EU budget negotiations.


Houdini Dave can slip the Leveson trap (Sunday Times) (£) 


Martin Ivens calls for a voluntary regulatory arrangement among newspapers.


Buck up Britain - regrets are mere whinges (Sunday Times) (£) 


India Knight says she has no time in life for regrets.

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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.