Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Miliband's challenge is to prove he can do without Santanomics? (Daily Telegraph)

Labour’s hopes depend on whether Ed the house-builder can also reconstruct the state, says Mary Riddell. 

2. Why does Wonga even exist? It's a question no one on the left asks (Guardian)

Reining in payday loan firms is seen as the only 'realistic' way to tackle poverty, writes Zoe Williams. It's beyond depressing.

3. Do we really want the state to run politics? (Times)

If taxpayers fund parties it won’t be long before quangoes control what politicians can say and do, writes Daniel Finkelstein. 

4. Whether or not it's Heathrow, airport expansion is just another glamorous project for the rich (Guardian)

David Cameron's Heathrow U-turn capitulated to the toughest corporate lobby of our times and its claims of what's best for 'UK plc', writes Simon Jenkins. 

5. Britain should not have a two-child policy (Times)

Tories want to cut benefits for large families but we need more children to support our ageing population, says Alice Thomson. 

What prompted the death of a man whose life was more valuable to Assad than any other foreigner’s in Syria, asks Robert Fisk. 

Stagnation has made politicians, and perhaps voters, desperate for anything that sounds like it might turn on the economic jets, says a Guardian editorial. 

8. Why Abenomics will disappoint (Financial Times)

Signs are that deflation can be beaten but hopes for faster trend economic growth are optimistic, writes Martin Wolf. 

9. The real gift to the younger generation this year would be solving the productivity puzzle (Independent)

This week highlights the financial stretch between wanting everyone to have a good time and worrying about the cost of it all, writes Hamish McRae. 

10. Cameron’s losing proposition in Europe (Financial Times)

The PM should focus on reform, not repatriation, says Charles Grant.

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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.