Dr Patrick Nolan, Chief Economist at Reform, was quoted in an article in the Financial Times on the welfare cap announced in yesterday’s Autumn Statement.
Patrick argued that the decision to exclude retired people from the cap, in particular through pensions, while capping those benefits for younger families showed that “Mr Osborne had failed to ‘pick a much-needed fight’ with pensioners by choosing, once again, to accord them favourable treatment” (FT).
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, released his Autumn Statement yesterday, confirming that economic growth for 2013 was 1.4 per cent and that growth was forecast to reach 2.4 per cent next year.
Mr Osborne also announced a package of reforms which included changes to the state retirement system, £1 billion of cuts from Government departments each year until 2017, a cap on certain welfare spending, a rise in the personal tax allowance to £10,000, and the scrapping of employers National Insurance Contributions for 1.5 million jobs for young people (FT; Telegraph; Times;Guardian; Independent; Mail; Express; Sun; BBC Online; City A.M.).
Business leaders in energy-intensive industries have signalled that they will seek relief from energy costs after concerns that George Osborne failed to address the issue in yesterday’s Autumn Statement.
Amid complaints that green taxes are pushing costs up too far, Chief Executive of the EEF manufacturers organisation Terry Scuoler said, “The Chancellor was right to stress the risks to recovery but did little to support the investment that would secure it” (FT).
The Treasury forecasts that house prices will rise by almost a fifth in the next three years, adding to fears of a new housing bubble.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) suggested that an overheated housing market could undermine the economic recovery and put Britain at risk of repeating the boom and bust that preceded the last financial crisis (Telegraph).
The Bank of England left monetary policy unchanged yesterday, sticking to its commitment to keep interest rates at a record low 0.5 per cent until Britain’s recovery is more firmly established.
The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee also opted to leave its bond-buying programme unchanged at £375 billion yesterday, indicating it will not begin to sell back the bonds until interest rates have returned to a normal level (FT; City AM; BBC Online).
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP has called on hospitals to use professional volunteers in Accident and Emergency Departments to help relieve pressure on hospitals this winter.
Mr Hunt said that hospitals bidding for the £400 million of funding allocated to Accident and Emergency wards this winter would be expected to contact voluntary groups for additional support (Times).
The NHS appears to be rationing access to non-emergency care such as knee, hip and cataract operations, according to analysis by Dr Foster.
After a decade of increasing numbers of these three procedures, since 2010 the number of these operations has fallen to its lowest level for five years despite the growing elderly population (Telegraph; Guardian; BBC Online)
George Osborne MP has announced that universities will be able to admit 30,000 more undergraduates from next autumn.
The Government, however, said that it would not allow a free-for-all and expects around 60,000 more well-qualified applicants a year to be offered places (FT; Telegraph; Times).
The Prison Service is recruiting 1,000 more officers to tackle staffing shortages, and is expected to re-hire some of the 3,000 who have left in the past two years (Times).
Andrew Haldenby debated the Autumn Statement with Polly Toynbee on the BBC News Channel this morning.
Andrew argued that decisions such as the increase in the state pension age are politically difficult but are just what is needed to control the public finances over the long term.
There has been significant press coverage of the Autumn Statement in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, is expected to announce £1 billion worth of cuts to departmental budgets in the next three financial years, as well as reforms to the state retirement system.
Mr Osborne will announce that people will have to work to the age of 68 before being entitled to a state pension and those people born in the 1990s may have to work until they are 70 under a new formula linked to average life expectancy (Telegraph; Times; Guardian, article 1, article 2; Independent; Mail; BBC Online article 1; article 2).
The UK economy is set to grow by 1 per cent in the final quarter of 2013, according to Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index.
This would be Britain’s largest GDP growth since 2007 (City A.M.).
Schoolteachers in England are to be offered free online computing courses in coding, amid warnings that schools are poorly prepared for its introduction to the curriculum next year.
The body responsible for the computing curriculum changes – Computing at School (CAS) – has agreed that from next September, computer programming will be mandated in schools for children between the ages of 5 and 16 (Telegraph).
Figures published today by the Office for National Statistics show that in some places in the UK up to four in ten adults are without qualifications.
In 11 towns in the UK, around one third of adults had no qualifications at all, compared to parts of London where over 50 per cent of adults had been educated to degree level (Telegraph).
One in ten elderly people discharged from hospital will receive no help upon arriving home, a study for the Royal Voluntary Service has found.
Only 1 in 5 elderly people receive professional help, meaning that the majority of elderly patients rely on help from friends and family, and 15.3 per cent of over-75s are readmitted within 28 days of discharge (Times).
The number of people worldwide living with dementia is set to treble by 2020, according to analysis from Alzheimer’s Disease International.
The Chief Executive of the UK Alzheimer’s Society, Jeremy Hughes, said: "Dementia is fast becoming the biggest health and social care challenge of this generation” (BBC Online).
John Vine, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, has said that thousands of visas are being handed out without adequate checks.
Mr Vine raised concerns that checks were not being carried out due to the pressure for border control to deal with each case within ten minutes (Times).
The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith MP, has said that the Universal Credit programme may not be completed by 2017.
Mr Duncan Smith has said that people receiving Employment Support Allowance, around 700,000 people, may not be transferred until after 2017 as smooth delivery of the change must take precedence over meeting targets (BBC Online).
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said that the Conservatives will not bring in tax cuts until the deficit has been eliminated.
Mr Cameron has said that balancing the budget is the “first duty” of the Government, and that ministers will have to wait until the budget is in surplus to reduce the 40p tax rate (Telegraph; Independent; Mail).
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, will announce that business rate rises will be limited to 2 per cent in England and Wales next year instead of being linked to inflation, in tomorrow’s Autumn Statement.
Mr Osborne will also extend a scheme that offers rate relief to small businesses and remove employers' national insurance contributions for every worker aged 20 or under (FT; Telegraph; Sun; BBC Online).
Danny Alexander MP, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will today announce the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan to invest £375 billion in UK infrastructure by 2020, £25 billion of which insurance companies have pledged to invest.
These will include a second wave of nuclear power stations built by private investors, the redevelopment of Gatwick airport and the sale of the Government’s 40 per cent stake in Eurostar (FT; Telegraph; Telegraph; Mail; City A.M.; BBC Online).
A report by the Local Government Association (LGA) has argued that the Government must allow councils in England and Wales to borrow more money to spend on building in order to tackle the housing shortage.
The LGA said that lifting a cap on borrowing would allow up to 60,000 new homes to be built in the next five years (Mirror; BBC Online).
Britain’s housebuilding sector has seen the strongest rise in activity for a decade, according to Markit.
Rising confidence and improving credit conditions, as well as the Government’s “Help to Buy” scheme have helped to boost activity across the sector (Telegraph; Guardian; Independent).
The former Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis, has warned that Britain should not accept funding for HS2 from China without being certain of the quality of its technology.
Lord Adonis said “I am sure the Chinese are serious about wanting to play a part in HS2… I think Britain needs to treat this very cautiously given their safety record” (Telegraph).
George Osborne MP has decided to scrap plans for tolls on the A14 amid fears that it would put the Felixstowe port would at a disadvantage to its rival the London Gateway super-port.
Tolls had been intended to cover about £300m of the £1.5bn cost of the A14 improvements (FT; Guardian; BBC Online).
The number of people going to Accident and Emergency departments has increased by 11 per cent in the last four years, with the busiest period between April and June.
The report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre also showed that over the period from 2004-2005 to 2012-2013, attendances at minor A&E departments, urgent care centres and walk-in centres increased at 11 times the rate of population increase (Times print only; Guardian; Independent; Mail).
A letter to the British Medical Journal from a group of doctors and senior academics has said the effect of Government policies on vulnerable people’s ability to afford food needs to be “urgently” monitored.
A surge in the number of people requiring emergency food aid, a decrease in the amount of calories consumed by families, and a doubling of malnutrition cases seen at English hospitals represent “all the signs of a public health emergency that could go unrecognised until it is too late,” they write (Independent).
Edward Timpson MP, the Minister for Children and Families, has announced that children in foster care will be able to remain in care until they reach the age of 21.
Local authorities will have a legal duty to provide financial support for each young person who wished to remain with their foster parents until their 21st birthday (Times; Guardian; Independent; BBC Online).
Age UK has warned that reform of care funding risks shutting older people out of the system, with those deemed to have “moderate needs” having to pay themselves.
The charity warned that millions of people approaching retirement could be “sleepwalking into a crisis” because a lack of understanding of the details of the Coalition’s planned cap on the cost of care has created a false sense of security (Telegraph;Mail).
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that while working households are worse off since the start of the economic downturn, pensioner incomes have risen.
Working households have seen their incomes fall by 6.4 per cent since 2007, with pensioners seeing a rise of more than 5 per cent (FT; Times;Independent; BBC Online).
The Treasury Select Committee has said that the Money Advice Service (MAS) is not fit for purpose, offers advice duplicated elsewhere and has wasted a large part of its £81 million budget.
George Mudie MP, Chairman of the sub-committee investigating the MAS, said that a two-year review planned by the Treasury was not good or urgent enough, and recommended an independent inquiry to be completed by next summer (Times; Independent; City A.M.).
The Bank of England has released figures showing that people have been withdrawing money from their savings accounts at the fastest rate on record.
Over £23 billion, or £900 per household, has been withdrawn, a significant increase from 2012 when £24.8 billion was added to savings accounts (Telegraph; Times).
The manufacturing sector is growing faster than predicted, according to the Markit purchasing managers’ index.
The index rose from 56.5 in October to 58.4 in November (FT print only; Guardian).
The results of the OECD Programme for International Student Achievement (Pisa) shows the UK's position is virtually unchanged since the last study in 2009, with the UK rising from 26th to 23rd in the rankings for reading and maths (FT; Telegraph; Guardian; BBC Online).
The Education Minister, Elizabeth Truss MP, has said that schools should reintroduce textbooks in order to give children a sense of ownership over key subjects and to avoid overloading them with “dog-eared work-sheets”.
Ms Truss encouraged schools to teach without feeling that they had to provide all the classroom materials themselves, and observed that textbooks are issued in schools in the best-performing countries in the world (Telegraph; Times; Mail).
Single parents face losing up to £60 per week as In Work Credits are scrapped and the Universal Credit Scheme is delayed (Independent;Sun).
The National Audit Office (NAO) has said that elements of the Government’s “Troubled Families” programme are under-performing.
The NAO said that the Department for Work and Pensions £200 million scheme to place 22 per cent of individuals attached to the programme into employment had only achieved 4 per cent of its target (Independent print only; BBC Online).
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said that due to migration from inside the EU he may be unable to reduce net migration to his target of 100,000 people per year by 2015.
Mr Cameron said “I made the pledge of trying to get net migration down… on the basis that, actually, over the previous period migration flows within Europe have been relatively balancing out; when it’s been migration from outside Europe that’s been topping up the numbers” (FT;Telegraph; Times print only; Mail).
The Office for National Statistics has released figures showing that the number of elderly and vulnerable people in care homes dying of blood infections has increased by almost 50 per cent over the last decade.
Norman Lamb MP, Minister of State for the Department of Health, has said that he expects care homes to train their staff to be able to spot the signs of infection and seek medical help (Telegraph).
Richard Harries, Deputy Director of Reform, has written an article for The Guardian Public Leaders Network ahead of the Autumn Statement this Thursday.
Richard argues that the Chancellor cannot afford financial “giveaways” despite recent growth figures, instead arguing that “public spending must come down even further: ideally by removing the ring-fences around health and education that hold back innovation and simply pile on the pressure elsewhere in the public sector” (Guardian).
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, has confirmed the Government’s pledge to bring down energy costs by taking £50 off bills and offering new homeowners up to £1,000 to help install insulation, double glazing or green boilers.
The measures due to be unveiled in the Autumn Statement will be funded by a further crackdown on tax avoidance and by scaling back the Energy Company Obligation (Guardian; Mail; BBC Online).
George Osborne MP has called for last minute spending cuts from Whitehall departments to fund more the £2 billion of giveaways in the Autumn Statement.
Resources are needed to fund the scrapping of a rise in fuel duty, bringing in free school meals for all five to seven year olds and tax breaks for married couples (Independent).
Vince Cable MP, the Business Secretary, will today announce that the Government will give Britain’s Business Bank £250 million to loan to small businesses.
The fund is designed to ensure that Britain’s economic recovery is broad and not overly based on the financial services sector (FT;Telegraph; Guardian; Independent).
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has said that a £200-per-year tax break for married couples on low incomes, set to be announced in the upcoming Autumn Statement, will deliver no financial gains for many families since they will lose benefit payments as a result.
The Government will be “giving with one hand and taking with the other”, the ICAEW said (Telegraph).
Research by HM Treasury has demonstrated that although the rise in living standards has fallen behind the growth of GDP, the amount companies are paying their employees has kept pace (FT).
A survey of more than 300 companies by the EEF manufacturers’ association and advisory firm BDO has forecasted that manufacturing will grow faster than the UK economy overall next year.
The industry survey found high levels of optimism, with respondents planning to create jobs and step up investment (FT; Telegraph;Guardian; Express).
Medium sized companies are creating more than their share of jobs and growth helping to fuel economic recovery, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
While medium sized companies account for just 1.8 per cent of UK private sector businesses, they created 185,000 jobs in 2010-13 with their turnover rising by more than double that of other companies (FT; Guardian; City A.M.).
A survey by KPMG has shown that Britain is still the favourite tax regime of business, however its lead over countries such as Ireland, Luxembourg and Switzerland has narrowed.
One in ten of the foreign-owned companies questioned said it was actively considering moving its tax residence to the UK, with only five per cent of UK companies considering moving out of Britain (FT).
Members of the “big six” UK energy companies have announced plans to curb energy bills.
EDF and SSE have promised no energy bill increases until the end of 2014, and British Gas have committed to reduce annual household energy bills by £53, while Npower are planning a conditional price freeze until 2015 (Telegraph; Mail; BBC Online).
British pupils are lagging behind other nations in maths, reading and science, according to research published by the OECD tomorrow.
The research will show that although Britain spends more on education than many other countries, their performance in key areas has shown little improvement (Telegraph; Guardian).
Property crime, including break-ins, muggings, and shoplifting of basic foods, has risen by up to 10 per cent from April to September this year, particularly in the North of England.
The rise in property crime marks a reversal of recent trends which has seen crime falling, with the British Crime Survey reporting this year that crime was at its lowest level since the survey began in 1981 and had more than halved since its peak in 1995 (Telegraph print only; Times; Independent).
There has been further coverage of Reform’s report “Mind the (fiscal) gap” which can be downloaded here.
Rafael Behr, Political Editor at the New Statesman has written an article ahead of the Autumn Statement, which covers Reform’s latest paper. His article notesReform’s argument that “Westminster and Whitehall are still in denial about the scale of the fiscal challenge ahead”, and its recommendations that, given an ageing population, tax cuts will have to stay off the agenda.
Clare Fraser, Researcher at Reform, wrote an article for Public Finance, arguing that “If the Government is serious about lowering public debt, it must restore the link between taxation and expenditure, and not duck the hard decisions” and making the case for the Government to end pensioners’ exemption from National Insurance Contributions and reform pensions’ tax relief.
The Government has asked the Big Six energy companies to freeze prices until 2015, allowing for no rises in wholesale energy costs.
This move comes as part of a scheme to reduce energy prices by £50 per household annually in the run up to the next election (Telegraph; Times; BBC Online).
Research by energy consultants EUM has claimed that an energy efficiency scheme that mandates energy companies to insulate their poorest customers’ is set to waste £610 million unless reforms are made.
The report claims the scheme uses restrictive eligibility criteria, inaccurate carbon calculations and bureaucratic regulations (Guardian; City A.M.).
Official figures published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills show that only 404 people have applied for loans for adult apprenticeships in the first quarter of 2013-2014.
Official targets are for 25,000 people this year to borrow about £4,000 for higher and advanced apprenticeships (BBC Online).
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has stopped some private colleges from recruiting for higher national diplomas and certificates after it emerged that the Department's budget for providing student loans and grants was overspent by £80 million in 2012–2013.
The Department has stopped a total of 200 courses from being taught to new students at the colleges (Guardian).
The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, yesterday released a report in collaboration with the Treasury announcing a package of reforms designed to prevent a housing bubble.
Key changes in the report include withdrawing support from the Funding for Lending scheme for mortgages, more stringent criteria for loans, and increasing support for small business loans (F.T.; Telegraph; Guardian; Independent; Mail; City A.M.).
The Distressed Town Centre Property Taskforce has released a report urging the Government to designate town and city centres as key national infrastructure projects in order to open up more funding opportunities.
The report also advocates more flexible planning regulations, investment by local authorities in capital reserves, and councils using compulsory purchase powers (BBC Online).
Jeremy Hunt MP, the Health Secretary, has announced the introduction of a “dementia map” of England.
Overall, the Department of Health estimates that less than half of dementia sufferers have been officially diagnosed by the NHS (Telegraph; Guardian; Mail; Mirror).
Government figures have shown that there are 19 wards in England that at least 50 per cent of patients would not recommend to their friends and family(Mail).
Mary Curnock Cook, Chief Executive of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, has said that reform’s to A-levels, may have a “detrimental” effect on plans to encourage more disadvantaged pupils to go to university.
Ms Cook argued that the reforms may lead to less students from poorer homes studying academic qualifications, citing evidence that a growing number of students in state schools were choosing vocational qualifications over A-levels (Telegraph; Independent).
Jo Swinson MP, the Equalities Minister, has announced plans for new mums and dads to share a year of parental leave after the birth of a child.
Ms Swinson said that the announcement would result in people addressing family-related cultural barriers in the workplace (F.T.; Times; Guardian; Independent;BBC Online; City A.M.).
Tim Kelsey, NHS Director for Patients and Information at NHS England, has said that a “TripAdvisor-style” review and feedback website for the NHS will be rolled out nationally next year.
A three month trial of “Care Connect” has been in operation in London and the north-east, and Mr Kelsey said that some serious issues have already been tackled using the system (Guardian).
An official report shows that patients in the south of England are less happy with their GP than patients in the north.
The report also calls for changes in the way GPs operate, for example using Skype, email and phone consultations, to both improve patient satisfaction and reduce demand on local practices (Telegraph).
The Government is to announce an independent review, led by Sir Cyril Chantler, Chair of UCL Partners, of whether cigarettes should be sold in plain packaging.
Jane Ellison MP, the Public Health Minister, said: “It’s a quick review, we’ve asked it to report by March, to have a look and take that independent view and step back from the politics of this and survey the evidence; I think that’s the sensible next step to making policy in this area" (FT; Telegraph; Guardian; BBC Online).
The “We Need To Talk” Coalition, a group of mental health charities and practitioners, has said that delays and a lack of choice were leading to poor care for those with mental health conditions.
The Coalition found that one in ten people with a mental health condition were waiting longer than a year before receiving treatments and the group recommended that the NHS should offer a full range of evidence-based psychological therapies to all who need them within 28 days of requesting a referral (Guardian; BBC Online).
A report by the Patients Associations has warned that "disturbing, poor and unsafe care" in the NHS has become too common.
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said: "The Government needs to ensure that the changes made to the NHS in the next few years put the patient and their needs at the centre of everything they do” (Telegraph; Mirror; BBC Online).
ACEVO, the body which represents the voluntary sector, has dismissed the NHS’s call for an “army of good Samaritans” to visit the elderly this winter as “ludicrous” after the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, rejected a £38 million national volunteer plan proposed by ACEVO (Times).
The National Audit Office (NAO) has estimated that more than 350,000 students who have borrowed money are unlikely to pay back their student loans because the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills does not have their employment records.
Ministers had assumed that 35 per cent of new student loans would not be repaid, but according to the NAO, the figure is more than 40 per cent, resulting in a potential loss of £5 billion (FT; Telegraph; Guardian; Mail; BBC Online).
The Head of the AQA Exam Board, Andrew Hall, has said that schools pressuring students to sit 15 GCSEs are focussing on the quantity rather than the quality of education.
Mr Hall has said that schools should encourage pupils to sit eight GCSEs to leave them time for extra-curricular activities, community volunteering and work experience (Mail).
Research released by Halifax has found Londoners save less of their monthly income than people in any other part of England and Wales.
The data showed that in London just 22 per cent of their annual salary was placed in savings accounts, compared to the nationwide average of 29 per cent (City A.M.).
The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has confirmed that the Bank does not have the power of veto over the Government's “Help to Buy” scheme.
Mr Carney wrote in a reply to the Treasury Select Committee Chairman, Andrew Tyrie MP, that the Bank of England’s financial policy committee only had the authority to make recommendations regarding the scheme (F.T.; Telegraph; Guardian; BBC Online).
Official figures from Eurostat have shown that Britain hands out a quarter of all new EU citizenships.
More than 177,000 immigrants became UK nationals in 2011, with the top three countries of origin being India, Pakistan and Nigeria. (Express; Mail, print only).
Data released by the Office for National Statistics has shown that immigration to the UK fell in the year to June 2013, but the net immigrant total increased to 182,000 (BBC Online).
Reform today publishes new research arguing that tax breaks for pensioners will become increasingly unaffordable due to demographic change. Mind the (fiscal) gap: direct taxes, public debt and population ageing is available at www.reform.co.uk.
Click here to download the full report. The Twitter hashtag for the report is #reformtax
In an article, Patrick Nolan, Chief Economist at Reform writes, “The Coalition cannot avoid hard decisions on taxation as well as spending. They must consider measures to ensure that older people share in increasing tax burdens not just people of working age.”
The Times has covered the report’s recommendations that the Chancellor should rule out new personal tax cuts for the foreseeable future and should reverse pensioners’ exemption from national insurance.
The Sun has also covered the report, saying, “The economy's recovery has raised hopes that George Osborne can afford a cash giveaway in the Autumn Statement. But analysts at Reform said the national debt is heading for "unsustainable levels" and so the Chancellor still needs all the money he can get.”
In an article, Patrick Nolan writes, “The priority must be to set out a way to raise revenue and lower economic costs, while also ensuring fairness within and between generations. This is a hard, but not impossible, task, and requires a stronger focus on the design not just level of taxation.”
Andrew Haldenby, Director of Reform is quoted: “A hint of economic growth will tempt all political parties towards expensive tax giveaways. Instead, they should help the public understand that ever-increasing spending cannot be made available to them at little or no extra cost."
The report received further coverage in Citywire, the Belfast Telegraph and the Plymouth Herald.
Data released by the Office for National Statistics estimates that economic growth in the third quarter was at 0.8 per cent, the fastest pace for three years (F.T.; BBC Online).
The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has told the Treasury Select Committee that the Help to Buy scheme has not led to an increase in house building.
Mr Carney said that improvement in house prices would not lead to more house building because of Britain’s planning regime and the shortage of construction materials (Times).
A report by the Money Advice Service has found that nearly 9 million people across the UK are living with serious debt problems (BBC Online).
Data released by Adzuna, the jobs search website, has shown the north-south jobs divide has widened sharply as an upturn in construction boosted vacancies in the south.
48 per cent of the construction vacancies advertised last month were in London and the southeast while only 6 per cent were in the northwest and just 3 per cent in the northeast (F.T.; Guardian).
The NHS has launched a campaign to recruit thousands of volunteers to visit the elderly this winter.
The “Winter Friends” campaign hopes to attract 100,000 people to visit elderly neighbours to check heating levels, ensure that pensioners are claiming benefits and that they have non-perishable food supplies (Telegraph).
There were an estimated 31,000 excess winter deaths in England and Wales last year, a rise of almost a third on the previous winter, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The figure represents the highest excess winter mortality since 2008-09, when 36,450 deaths were recorded, with campaigners and charities blaming high energy prices and poor housing insulation for triggering what they argued were preventable deaths (Guardian;Telegraph; Independent; BBC Online).
Patients will be banned from smoking outside hospitals and NHS staff will be told not to smoke while in uniform under proposals from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (Independent; Guardian; Mail).
The Prime Minister David Cameron will today announce new restrictions on access to benefits for new migrants.
Mr Cameron will announce a series of measures, including limiting new migrants from receiving out-of-work benefits for the first three months and preventing new migrants from being able to claim housing benefit immediately (F.T.; Telegraph; Times; Guardian;Independent; Mail; Sun; Mirror; Express; BBC Online; City A.M.).
The Ministry of Justice has revealed that specialist prison officers have been called in to almost half of prisons to deal with hostage-taking, violence and other serious incidents.
The specially trained team was sent to prisons in England and Wales 151 times in the first 8 months of this year, compared with 129 callouts for the whole of last year (Guardian; Mirror).
A report by the CBI has found that a net balance of 28 per cent of business and professional services companies increased their staff numbers over the past three months.
Stephen Gifford, Director of Economics at the CBI, said “There are encouraging signs that the recovery is taking hold across the service sector and that investment is picking up" (F.T.; City A.M.).
A survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has found 65 per cent of employees on zero contract hours are happy with their work-life balance, compared to 58 per cent of those on regular contracts.
The CIPD said that the findings showed that zero contract hours provided the necessary flexibility for workers and employers (Guardian; BBC Online; City A.M.).
Data released by Ernst and Young (EY) has found that approximately 60 multi-national companies are considering relocating either their global headquarters or a regional headquarters to the UK in the next 18 months.
John Dixon, Head of Tax at EY, said that “The controlled foreign companies reforms; changes to the headline rate of corporation tax; and a patent box regime that encourages intellectual property ownership, are increasing the UK’s ability to compete for inward investment” (Telegraph; City A.M.).
Data released by the British Bankers Association has shown that banks continued to withdraw credit from businesses and households last month, with a dip in the number of mortgage approvals.
Since May, companies have paid off £892 million more than they have borrowed on average every month, with mortgage lending overall up on this time last year (Telegraph; Times; Guardian; Independent; BBC Online).
Figures released by the European Commission have shown that companies with 250 or more staff employ almost half (46.4 per cent) of the 17.7 million UK workers in the non-financial private sector (City A.M.).
The Stevens review into policing in England, commissioned by Labour in 2011, was released yesterday and made several key recommendations.
The report called for a renewed focus on neighbourhood policing, the replacement of the Inspectorate of the Constabulary and the IPCC by a more powerful body, and the abolition of Police and Crime Commissioners (Telegraph; Times; Mail; BBC Online).
Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, has said that short jail sentences risk interfering with the home lives of criminals.
Lord Neuberger suggested that that sentences as short as two months were not enough to deter prisoners from continuing to commit criminal offences (Times;Mail).
The OECD has called the UK’s pension reform programme one of the most comprehensive in the developed world.
The report has said the UK’s programme has successfully raised pensioners’ average incomes while other countries have focused on tackling the growing burden of future pensions costs by raising the state pension age or improving incentives for older people to stay in work (Guardian).
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, has announced a cap on payday loan interest rates.
The Financial Conduct Authority currently has the ability to cap the cost of payday loans, and will be obligated to use this ability under these changes to the Banking Reform Bill (FT; Telegraph; Guardian; Independent).
Ministers will today announce a deal to sell off £900 million of mortgage-style student loans as part of a wider drive to raise money from the liquidation of public assets.
The sale, first suggested in March by David Willets MP, the Universities Minister, relates to loans taken out between 1990 and 1998 (FT;Guardian; Mirror; Mail).
The Troubled Families programme has helped over 22,000 problem families since it began in 2011, according to the Government.
Halfway through the £448 million scheme, more than 22,000 families have been classed as “turned around”, with their children back at school, reductions in youth crime and antisocial behaviour, and more than 1,400 extra adults in employment (Telegraph; Guardian).
A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has shown the first rise in unsecured borrowing since the financial crisis as a result of a sharp increase in the levels of student debt.
The overall level of unsecured debt increased by £8.5 billion to £216 billion, with PwC estimating that the trend will continue with students who started university in 2012 graduating with between £40,000 and £50,000 in loans (Guardian; City AM; Independent, print only).
The online peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle has lent almost all the £20 million provided through a Government initiative to help SMEs(Guardian).
Neil Churchill, Director of Patient Experience at NHS England, has said that doctors must take more responsibility for hospital food and drink as an important part of the package of patient care.
Mr Churchill also said that patients needed to accept responsibility for not wasting health service resources, much in the same way that people now recycle to avoid wasting natural resources (Times).
Dame Barbara Hakin, Deputy Chief Executive of NHS England, has said that the NHS is taking seriously the need to prepare for pressures on hospitals this winter.
Hospitals have been creating thousands of extra beds, recruiting nurses from abroad and asking doctors to work longer shifts to meet the expected influx of demand (Guardian).
Dr Martin McShane, Director for Long-Term Conditions at NHS England, has warned that there is a growing “mortality gap” with those people suffering from mental illness having shorter life expectancies than the population as a whole.
Dr McShane has called this mortality gap “shocking” and said that “for too long, physical and mental health problems have been treated separately and people do not get the services they need every time” (Guardian).
Liz Kendall MP, Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, has warned that patient choice in the NHS is going “backwards” with the number of people choosing where to receive outpatient hospital treatment in decline.
Ms Kendall pointed to the fact that only 52 per cent of NHS outpatient appointments were made through the “choose and book” service in the third quarter this year, a decline from 57 per cent in early 2010 (Guardian).
The Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude MP, has criticised senior officials’ failure to raise the alarm over the Government’s implementation of the universal credit scheme.
Mr Maude said that senior civil servants leading major projects should tell Ministers if they felt they were being misdirected and be held to account for failing to act on any concerns (FT).
Richard Edgar, ITV Economics Editor, quoted Reform in a blog on the positive new public finance numbers yesterday.
Richard wrote: “Andrew Haldenby, Director of the think tank Reform, told me today he would urge the Chancellor ‘not to listen to the siren voices calling for extra spending.’ He went on: ‘Britain is only in year three of a 15 or 20 year process to tackle first the deficit and then the debt. I don’t think anyone should get carried away’” (itv.com).
Research by the Treasury has found that abolishing the “Schedule 19” stamp duty reserve tax will leave the typical worker £11,000 better off on retirement.
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid MP, said: “Abolishing Schedule 19 will make UK based funds more competitive, create jobs and improve returns for investors” (Telegraph).
Manufacturing orders and output growth in the three months to November were at their highest levels since 1995, according to the CBI.
The data shows a balance of 11 per cent in manufacturing orders, suggesting rapid growth in the sector (Telegraph; Guardian; City A.M.).
Lord Heseltine has called for the economies of struggling areas to be boosted through new hospitals and state infrastructure.
Lord Heseltine said that distributing money through the creation of infrastructure could be the “jewel in the crown of a bombed-out economy” (Independent print only).
Figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government have shown that there were 28,580 new-home starts by private housebuilders in England for the three months to the end of September.
The level of new-home build represents a year-on-year rise of 29 per cent and the highest quarterly figure since the start of 2008 (F.T.;Independent).
The Care Quality Commission has found that more than half a million people over the age of 65 were admitted to hospital as an emergency for conditions that should have been treated at home.
The Commission’s annual report showed that avoidable admissions have risen by almost a third in the past five years, and that one in ten hospital and care home inspections revealed poor care (Telegraph; Times; Independent; Mail; Guardian; BBC Online).
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, has rejected a proposition of a £38 million national volunteer programme from Aveco, arguing that it is up to individual organisations to decide whether to employ volunteers or not.
Aveco proposed that up to 5,000 voluntary workers from the Red Cross, the Royal Voluntary Service and Age UK would work with paramedics and hospital staff to assess whether elderly people could be cared for at home or discharged early (Times).
The Government has announced a new £350 million scheme to train more than 3,500 post graduates in engineering and science.
70 new “Centres for Doctoral Training” will be set up at 24 universities across the UK, with priority given to the UK’s most important sectors such as aerospace, pharmaceutical, medicine and “high-value manufacturing” (BBC Online).
The Office for National Statistics has released figures showing that the number of young people not in education, employment or training has reached a nine-month low.
The number of 16-25 year olds classified as NEETs fell by 19,000 from April-June and 28,000 from a year earlier to 1.07 million (FT).
Research commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions has found that benefit claimants will need to be trained in the digital and financial skills needed to use the Government’s new universal credit welfare system.
The study conducted by three London councils found that each authority would need to spend £6 million over two years to support vulnerable claimants to get online, help them open bank accounts and manage monthly budgets (Guardian).
The Metropolitan Police have announced plans to open a new cyber crime unit of 400 officers to tackle organised crime gangs who operate online.
Cyber crime is currently estimated to cost the British economy around £81 billion each year (FT).
The Business Secretary, Vince Cable MP, has voiced concerns that the Funding for Lending scheme has not boosted lending to small and medium enterprises.
Net lending to SMEs fell by £400 million in September, according to the Bank of England (Times).
The Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls MP, will today commit Labour to building a wave of new towns and to offer financial guarantees to provide cheap funding for builders, as part of a commitment to build 200,000 new homes a year by 2020.
Mr Balls will say that the Government must “create ways in which a local authority or groups of authorities are incentivised to come forward to identify locations capable of sustaining large scale sites for new towns and garden cities” (F.T.; Guardian; Mirror).
Public borrowing fell to £8.08 billion in October, down from £8.24 billion last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
However, net public debt rose to £1.207 trillion, 75.4 per cent of GDP (BBC Online).
The current model to allocate funding across local councils is causing communities to lose out on £4.1 billion a year by allocating according to population, not need, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
The Chairman of the LGA, Sir Merrick Cockell, said that the findings showed the current funding model “has passed its use-by date” (Telegraph; Guardian; BBC Online).
The UK tourism sector will grow by 3.8 per cent each year from now until 2025, according to a Government commissioned study by Deloitte (BBC Online; City A.M.).
£150 million will be given to A&E departments to help meet winter pressure on hospitals.
The funds will be in addition to the £250 million announced in September and will come out of NHS underspend (Guardian; Mirror).
The difference between the salary of a GP and the average worker in the UK is the largest in the OECD.
GPs in the UK earn 3.4 times the average salary while conducting fewer consultations per head of the population than any other country in the OECD (Telegraph;Mail).
Professor Keith Willett, Director of Acute Episodes of Care at NHS England, has warned that the NHS is too inflexible in its approach to meeting patients' demands and could learn from the way supermarkets cater for their customers.
Professor Willett said that lessons needed to be learned as hospitals ”are pretty poor at capacity management” (Telegraph).
Doctors and nurses are spending up to ten hours per week on bureaucracy, a third of which they deemed neither useful or relevant to patient care, according to a Government review.
The review has found that the NHS spends more than £1 billion each year on collecting and checking data and that 70 per cent of staff have found that the burden of paperwork has risen in the past five years (Telegraph).
Research by University College London School of Pharmacy has found that while 69 per cent of hospitals use some form of electronic prescribing, wide variation in the practice is putting patient safety at risk.
Lead researcher Professor Bryony Franklin said that "the level of variation in the use of electronic prescribing between hospital departments, and the diversity of the systems in place, presents a potential threat to patient safety in the form of medication errors" (BBC Online).
The Education Secretary, Michael Gove MP, will today announce the introduction of a new set of school regulators called Chancellors who will be given the power to take control of failing free schools and academies.
Under the proposals England will be split into eight regions independent of local councils, with the free schools and academies in each region overseen by a newly created Headteacher Board (HTB) led by a Chancellor (Telegraph; Guardian).
Tristram Hunt MP will today announce Labour’s plans to create a new type of technical college to improve vocational training.
The announcement will focus on the need to improve teacher training, calling for all college teachers to be qualified, echoing his policy for school teachers (F.T.).
Ofsted has said that a lack of practical science lessons in schools means many teenagers are struggling with the subject.
Inspectors said that while many students gained GCSEs in science, they did not have the practical skills to continue studying the subject (Telegraph; Guardian;BBC Online).
Mark Harper MP, the Immigration Minister, has pledged that Romanian and Bulgarian immigration will be on a far lower scale than Polish immigration from 2004.
Mr Harper warned that the Government will not be able to prevent immigration, but that the Government plans to extend their transnational controls, restricting immigration of those who cannot support themselves, for another five years (Telegraph; Guardian; Independent).