Which political party is proposing the biggest ‘Ponzi Scheme’

With the deficit in 2014–15 still at 5% of national income the 4 potentially biggest parties have pledged to reduce it over the coming Parliament.  New research, published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, analyses the public finance implications of these 4 political parties’ election manifesto commitments, and ‘sets out the size & composition of the future fiscal tightening that each appears to be planning’.

None of these parties has provided anything like full details of their fiscal plans for each year of the coming parliament, leaving the electorate somewhat in the dark as to both the scale & composition of likely spending cuts & tax increases.  In its analysis IFS have used the information provided in each manifesto, plus in some cases some necessary assumptions, to shed light on the four parties’ plans.

Researched Links:

IFS:  Public finance plans of Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and SNP leave much unanswered

What is a Ponzi scheme – In this case, keep borrowing & let our children count the cost

IFS:  Conservatives' proposed cut to Inheritance Tax on main homes

IFS:  Education spending: what are the parties planning to protect?

techUK welcomes Lib Dems £250m ‘Transformation Fund’ for tech

Lib Dems commit to 24 hour energy switching

techUK:  Lib Dems propose UK Digital Rights Bill

techUK:  Lib Dem Manifesto commits to secure global leadership in technology

techUK response to Labour Manifesto

Conservative Manifesto pledges to make Britain the technology centre of Europe

techUK briefing - how tech features in political party manifestos

ACE:  Summary of party manifestos: what they mean for arts, culture and creativity

ASI:  Conservative Manifesto a mixed bag for workers (minimum wage, housing & childcare)

ASI:  UKIP’s crackdown on unskilled immigrants goes against all economic sense

IEA:  Ending austerity & increasing spending is foolish

IEA:  Labour manifesto lacks seriousness on deficit reduction

IEA:  Focus on the economy, not planning our lives

IEA:  The Green Party is unrealistic when it comes to the deficit

IEA:  UKIP need to be bolder on spending restraint

IEA:  Lib Dems lack the courage to control government spending

IEA - UK economy riddled with damaging price controls

NLGN:  Statement on Conservative right to buy changes

Kings Fund:  Our response to the Labour Party’s election manifesto

KF response to the Conservative Party’s election manifesto

NHS enters 2015/16 facing biggest challenges in recent history, warns The King’s Fund

NHS Confederation responds to party political manifestos


10 reasons why the Cabinet Office has adopted Google Apps for collaboration

Since January, the Cabinet Office has been running its own in-house service, an approach which is expected to achieve 40% savings (£6.8 million) compared to the outsourced services that have been replaced.

This timely white paper explains how Google Apps for Work is about more than just providing low cost email and outsourcing operations, enabling a true cloud environment addressing ten of the key challenges most public sector organisations face today, by being designed from the ground up to run securely in the cloud. Designed for teams and available on any device with a browser, it allows your organisation to become more effective, more cost-efficient and more innovative.

Click here to download your free copy of ‘10 Reasons to leap into a collaborative new world with Google Apps for Work’.

Has it happened elsewhere in the UK and can it happen again?
The Electoral Commission has received a copy of the judgment following the Tower Hamlets election petition.  It is now considering the judgment and looking to see whether any lessons can be learned for the future from this case, including the recommendations the judge has made to the Law Commission in its important review of electoral law.
Researched Links:

Electoral Commission statement on outcome of the Tower Hamlets election petition

Action needed to restore confidence in Tower Hamlets election counts

EC:  electoral fraud

Local Government Lawyer:  Electoral Commission issues guidelines in wake of Tower Hamlets election count delay

Tower Hamlets staff 'told to obtain illegal votes' - BBC News

Eric Pickles sends in commissioners to Tower Hamlets - BBC

Tower Hamlets election fraud mayor Lutfur Rahman removed from office

Tower Hamlets £120,000 PR & legal bill to fend off BBC - Standard

PX:  Electoral Commission is not fit for purpose, says think tank

EC:  Perceptions of electoral fraud do not match available evidence, study shows

Democratic Audit UK:  What is the extent of electoral fraud at English elections?

Univ Of Liverpool:  The Integrity of UK Elections - Electoral Malpractice & the State of the Electoral Registers

Government unveils online voter registration

Pilots to make electoral register more accurate and complete

Allegations of voting fraud: new checks are working

Like many other medical conditions, epilepsy does not preclude having a successful career
The TUC, in partnership with Epilepsy Action, has published Epilepsy in the workplace – a TUC guide, to aid trade union workplace representatives in supporting members with epilepsy.  The guide is based on the social model of disability, which means epilepsy is not seen as a barrier to work.  However, there may be external barriers to accessing work in the form of ignorance, prejudice & failure by employers to make workplace adaptations.  The guide educates trade union members about epilepsy, and provides guidance on reasonable workplace adjustments and making workplaces epilepsy-friendly.
Researched Links:

TUC publishes new guide to epilepsy in the workplace

Epilepsy in the Workplace – A TUC Guide

Epilepsy Action

EA:  Work

Epilepsy Society:  Work, employment and epilepsy

Epilepsy: after diagnosis - Live Well - NHS Choices

Epilepsy: Safety At Work - Epilepsy Research UK

Employers’ Forum on Disability:  A practical guide to employment adjustments for people with epilepsy

Epilepsy & Computing - abilitynet.org.uk‎

Working with epilepsy  - Health & Safety at Work

Seizures (fits) in adults - St John Ambulance

Helping people find the cause of their blackouts

Recommendations made to Greater Manchester Police following death of epileptic man

Patient best interest – not cost alone – should be the overriding concern in care and treatment of people with learning disabilities, Ombudsman says

Improving the diagnosis & treatment of epilepsy

Multiple failures by Southwark Council over epileptic woman’s needs

NICE updates epilepsy drug advice

IPCC publishes findings from investigation into how GMP dealt with epileptic man

New epilepsy drug added to NHS treatment options

‘Throwing the baby out with the bathwater’? Banning unpaid internships is misguided

Commenting on the Labour Party’s plans to end unpaid internships that last for more than 4 weeks, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Internships frequently offer a chance for young people to improve their career opportunities and expand their horizons.  It is simply untrue that all internships are exploitative relationships that only advantage the employer. Banning the practice is an extremely blunt instrument and is likely to significantly reduce the amount of opportunities available.

“At the Institute of Economic Affairs, we take on dozens of unpaid interns every year, very often for periods longer than 4 weeks.  They benefit from coming to an extensive range of events, a programme of debates & discussions and expert supervision of their research work.  To force companies such as ours to pay interns the minimum wage is as absurd as expecting universities to pay their students for writing essays and attending lectures.”

Researched Links:

IEA:  We may have to charge for internships

Want to help change society for the better?

Are there other & better alternatives than just ‘Bring back Grammar Schools’?

Balancing ‘needs’ & ‘wishes’
Junior doctor Katie Smith reflects on her early experiences of caring for patients with dementia.
Researched Links:

NHS England:  Caring for elderly patients with dementia is not just for specialists

Hospitals must understand that they have a duty of care for Body AND Mind

In it for the ‘Long Haul’

The potential ‘Return’ on this investment could be £bns

Evolving the NHS & Social Care will require the involvement of both providers & users
NHS England’s Head of Public Voice, Olivia Butterworth, introduces the design of NHS Citizen, which you can see on a new design microsite.  You can read about the NHS Citizen design and learn about the project on the NHS Citizen website.
Researched Links:
NHS England:  Paving the way for citizens to have their say
Is ‘BOGOF’ really ‘Rip-off’
The CMA has received a super-complaint from Which? in respect of perceived concerns about misleading & opaque pricing practices in the grocery market.  Which? has identified 3 potential areas of concern that it would like the Competition & Markets Authority to investigate.  Which? is also concerned about the impact of supermarket ‘price match’ schemes on consumer decision-making.  The CMA will publish a response to the super-complaint within 90 days.
Researched Links:

CMA receives super-complaint from Which?

BCS Launches 2015 UK IT Industry Awards

Digital Professional, IT Apprentice, IT Team, Digital Project and Workplace Transformation are among some of the new categories added to this year’s UK IT Industry Awards, run by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and Computing which have now launched.  In total there are 25 categories that focus on the contribution of individuals, projects, organisations & technologies that have excelled in the use, development & deployment of IT in the past 12 months.  Entries close on 10 July 2015.

Researched Links:

BCS:  Is your IT innovation worthy of an award?

Are you the ‘best of the best’?
The latest round of National Clinical Excellence Awards will close at 5pm on Wednesday 17th June 2015.  Clinical Excellence Awards recognise & reward NHS consultants & academic GPs who perform ‘over & above’ the standard expected of their role.  The onus is on you, as the applicant, to submit your completed online application form to ACCEA by the allotted date & time. 
Researched Links:

DH:  2015 Clinical Excellence Awards round opens

LGA adapts the Jesuit approach and decides to ‘catch them young’
The Local Government Association (LGA) has signed up to Plotr, a Government-supported, employer-led careers website that builds bridges between the world of education and the world of work, in order to help councils recruit the best young people.  Plotr's mandate is for 11 to 24-year-olds, with a strong focus on targeting the 14-19 age group, a time when many of a young person's key career milestones happen.
Researched Links:

LGA signs up to Plotr to help promote local government careers ~ Maxim: "give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man" (Loyola, 1557)

Changes to means assessment guidance in England following implementation of Care Act 2014
The LAA are updating their guidance on financial eligibility & means assessments to take account of changes affecting England introduced on 1 April 2015.  Separate legislation will come into effect for care issues in Wales in April 2016.
Researched Links:

LAA:  Civil news: changes to care legislation and financial eligibility rules

Shocking pictures, but there is no simple solution for millions of people wanting to come & live in Europe
In response to the crisis situation in the Mediterranean, a 10-point plan of the immediate actions to be taken, was presented at a recent joint meeting of Foreign & Interior Ministers.
Researched Links:

Joint Foreign & Home Affairs Council: 10 point action plan on migration

UNICEF - Step up action before more tragedies unfold in the Mediterranean

Join the Board
techUK are inviting nominations for positions on their Main Board which arise from the annual rotation of directors in accordance with their Articles of Association. This year there are 3 vacancies. Elected Directors serve for a period of three years. techUK:  Deadline Thursday 7 May 2015.
Researched Links:

techUK:  Elected member vacancies for the techUK Main Board – Deadline Thursday 7 May

Social Funding Ecology
Independent funders need to collaborate more effectively to support citizens, says a new report from Collaborate CIC in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK Branch.
Researched Links:

Collaborate launches new report on social funding ecology


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;

Researched Links:

IFS:  Full fiscal autonomy delayed? The SNP's plans for further devolution to Scotland


Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the

Newsletter Archive

Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:
Election 2015
Election 2015: what do party pledges mean for NHS staff?

Election 2015: what do party pledges mean for NHS staff?
The NHS is centre stage in the parties’ manifestos; there are subtle yet significant differences between their commitments, according to SA Mathieson

Will the general election decide whether the NHS is a right or privilege?

Will the general election decide whether the NHS is a right or privilege?
Hoong-Wei Gan thinks that even with the manifestos' focus on the future of the health service we risk forgetting the importance of a free health service

Five questions on NHS funding that the campaigns are avoiding
Political parties need to be honest about the money required for their health service proposals and the Five Year Forward View, says Chris Hopson

New on the network
Successful NHS trusts should buddy up with those in difficulty

Successful NHS trusts should buddy up with those in difficulty
High performing organisations should be given the opportunity for their achievements to be adopted and spread elsewhere, says David Dalton

Words can't do justice to the intimacy of meeting someone after death

Words can't do justice to the intimacy of meeting someone after death
Jonny Martell explains why he thinks confirming the dead is the privilege of the newly initiated doctor and it’s a curious ritual that we must quickly learn

Patients should be able to expect compassion from clinicians

Patients should be able to expect compassion from clinicians
Healthcare professionals cannot become emotionally overwhelmed by every case they deal with, but patients and families need empathy, writes Melanie Henwood