Show Hide image

Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The gap widens between the right and reality (Times)

The left recognises growing inequality and ludicrously high executive pay, writes Philip Collins. Capitalists, on the other hand, are in denial.

2. Low-rent Labour is positioning itself as the Ukip of the left (Daily Telegraph)

Ed Miliband is banking on a populist wave sweeping him all the way to Downing Street, says Fraser Nelson. 

3. Vince Cable poses as the scourge of City spivs. But he blundered into handing them millions of your money (Daily Mail)

The loss to the Exchequer as a result of the mispricing of Royal Mail is scandalous at a time of national austerity, says Alex Brummer. 

4. Scrap inheritance tax and leave the dead to rest in peace (Guardian)

To reduce our soaring inequality we must treat inherited wealth like ordinary taxed income and end all the wheezes, writes Polly Toynbee. 

5. The mission that is Blair’s dismal last act (Financial Times)

His arguments have been lost to the lust for personal riches and attention, writes Philip Stephens.

6. When the pressure’s on, by-elections get delirious and dirty (Daily Telegraph)

The souped-up campaigning promises to make the fight for the vacant Westminster seat both shambolic and amusing, writes Isabel Hardman. 

7. Northern Ireland: power of the past (Guardian)

Everything connected with the Troubles is politicised – and the future of the McConville investigation will not be a simple matter, says a Guardian editorial.

8. Japan should resist right-wingers who discount the country's war crimes (Independent)

Shinzo Abe’s revisionist government would like to take back an apology over "comfort women", writes Peter Popham. 

9. Schools are held hostage by politicians' control-freakery (Guardian)

Local authorities are effective guarantors of educational standards, writes Simon Jenkins. Gove, Hunt and Blunkett need to get out of the way.

10. Despite those 14 questions, I admire Jeremy Paxman (Times)

...but the BBC’s grand inquisitor didn’t always get the better of me, says Michael Howard. 

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

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.