The Staggers blog and NS writers shortlisted for the Comment Awards 2013

Our rolling politics blog The Staggers, edited by George Eaton, has been shortlisted for the Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards 2013, along with a host of other New Statesman writers and bloggers.

The Staggers, the New Statesman's rolling politics blog, has been shortlisted for the Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards 2013. The blog is edited by NS staffer George Eaton, and we're delighted to see it getting the recognition it deserves.

The novelist and journalist Will Self, who writes a weekly column for the magazine, has been shortlisted in the Cultural Commentator category, while the NS has dominated two out of the three spots available in the Mainstream Media Blogger category, for pop culture writer Bim Adewunmi and legal blogger David Allen Green. Martin Robbins was also nominated for Foreign Commentor.

A special congratulations also to goes Glosswitch, who was shortlisted in the Independent Blogger for her website Glosswatch.

The winners in each category will be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday, 26 November 2013, hosted by Peter York. For more information visit the Comment Awards website.

The Staggers has been shortlisted for Best Online Comment Site.
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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.