Makes Osborne’s ‘Brexit makes every household £4,300 worse off’ seem piddling

The government’s total liabilities, better understood as ‘debts waiting to happen’, are even larger than its mammoth public debt at £1.85tn, according to a new investigative paper from the Adam Smith Institute.  This is on top of the national debt and the ASI warns that feckless government risks burdening our grandchildren with a mammoth public pensions bill.

  • National liabilities of £1.85tn out-strip the national debt by £250bn but are concealed by government
  • Two-thirds of national liabilities made up of unsustainable public sector pensions
  • 93% of public sector pensions currently unfunded, with no government money put aside to pay £1.3tn of inevitable debt
  • 45% of student loans predicted to be a write-off by Department of Business, Innovation & Skills, forcing the taxpayer to fund vanity degrees
  • Real cost of debt to every man, woman and child in the UK £53,822 each
Researched Links:

Adam Smith Inst:  Britain at risk from hidden debt time bomb

The UK National Debt Clock 2016 Counter

Chancellor announces £4½bn of measures to bring down debt

Think tank warns of £40bn worth of additional cuts over next 50 years

Government to sell off mortgage-style student loan book

NIESR: Public sector workers take different hits from Pension Reforms

IFS:  The UK coalition government’s record, and challenges for the future

Design flaws in the Government’s fiscal framework and surplus target

ASI:  Chancellor should follow RBS sell-off with £40bn in state privatizations

IFS:  Public service spending: more cuts to come

CSJ:  Household debt grows for 26th consecutive month, reaching £1.47tn

IFS:  Uncertainty over size & shape of painful measures to follow election

IEA:  Politicians must be honest about the scale of the UK's debt challenge

IEA:  Government spending would have to fall by 25% to meet debt target

IEA:  Reviving contracting out of pensions will boost financial security in retirement

PX:  Pay down the debt or risk future tax rises & public spending cuts, warns think tank

DEMOS:  Young people bearing the brunt of Britain’s debt


Webinar | Thursday, 28th April 2016, 10.30am

What is Robotic Process Automation? Is it a catalyst for Public Sector Transformation?

Robotic process automation (RPA) technology is revolutionising the way we think about and administer business processes, back-office operations, IT support processes, workflow processes and remote infrastructure. RPA software allows you to configure a "robot" to capture and interpret data from existing applications, to process transactions, validate data, trigger responses and communicate with other digital systems whilst  saving money and time.

Click here to find out more and to register.

A sign of common sense!

New rules mean unnecessary and out-of-date road signs can be removed from our roads from 22 April 2016:

  • ensuring road signs that are used far longer than needed have a ‘remove by’ date
  • making sure traffic signs are visible on unlit roads
  • stopping temporary message signs from being cluttered with adverts & distracting logos

The number of signs on our roads, more than doubled from 2.45m in England in 1993 to an estimated 4.57m in 2013.   Now simpler rules are being brought in to give town halls the power to take down unnecessary signs and for the first time, signs that say ‘new’ layout ahead will have ‘remove by dates’ on the back so they are not needlessly left in place for years.

Researched Links:

DfT:  Councils get new powers to tear down pointless road signs

Ending the scourge of pointless road signs

IEA:  Rip out 80% of traffic lights to boost economy & road safety

NHS innovates to provide better care
3m patients have begun to access new apps, safety devices, on-line networks, and a host of other new technologies and services during the first 9 months of the pioneering NHS Innovation Accelerator programme.  68 NHS organisations are using one or more of 17 new innovations which aim to improve care by, for example, reducing clinical incidents, helping people self-care and linking up patients with others or with research schemes.
Researched Links:

NHS England:  3m patients benefit from new innovations in pioneering NHS programme

Will they extensively pilot IT in Carter’s ‘Model Hospital’?

NHS IT: Older, Fatter, and Twisted - The Unsustainable Status Quo

But what about the ‘Digitally un-empowered’?

HSCIC changing its name to NHS Digital

New national system to allow ‘real time’ monitoring of infection outbreaks in Welsh hospitals

DigitalHealth.London goes online

Improving the gateway to better healthcare

The head of NHS England has set out a multi-billion plan designed to ‘get general practice back on its feet, improve patient care and access, and invest in new ways of providing primary care’.  Publishing a General Practice Forward View – developed with Health Education England and in discussion with the Royal College of GPs and other GP representatives – Simon Stevens said the NHS would now earmark an extra £2.4bn a year for general practice services by 2020/21.

This means spending will rise from £9.6bn in 2016/17 to over £12bn by 2021 – a 14% real terms increase. This investment will be supplemented by a £500m national ‘turnaround’ package to support GP practices, and additional funds from local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

The plan also contains specific, practical & funded steps to strengthen workforce, drive efficiencies in workload, modernise infrastructure & technology, and redesign the way modern primary care is offered to patients.

Researched Links:

NHS England backs general practice with a multi-billion transformation plan

NHS Confed. responds to a multi-billion pound plan for general practice

PC&PE:  Primary care under strain & struggling with rising demand

CQC supports 5-year vision for general practice in England

You don’t have to make an appointment to see one

Hardly ‘rocket science’ so why is it taking so long

Don’t wait until it’s too late

Not everyone is capable of asking for checks

Hospitals are too expensive for anything but specialist ‘non-mobile’ treatment

SME Supplier Locator update...

UK Government and public sector spend with SME’s is continually on the increase and by 2020, it is the stated intent of Cabinet Office that £1 of every £3 spent on government contracts goes to SME’s. The past 5 years have seen government make a priority of getting money through its supply chain into the hands of SMEs, by both setting targets and introducing new procurement mechanisms.

Against this backdrop, the WiredGov Supplier Locator service has been developed specifically to embrace the SME Agenda and provide the ideal platform for SME’s to promote their services, solutions, accreditation and success stories directly to our ever increasing audience across all government and public sector verticals and Tier 1 suppliers.

Click here to find out more and view this week’s new arrivals to the SME Supplier Locator service. 

A change of mind brings good news
The LGA's Community Wellbeing spokeswoman, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, has responded to NHS England's announcement that it will reconsider its decision not to fund the new HIV treatment.  Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a new HIV prevention approach where HIV-negative individuals use anti-HIV medications to reduce their risk of becoming infected.
Researched Links:

LGA:  Councils respond to NHS rethink over HIV treatment

LGA - Councils respond to NHS England announcement not to fund new HIV treatment

HPV vaccination programme

Update on commissioning and provision of Pre Exposure Prophylaxsis (PREP) for HIV prevention

New HPV vaccine programme for gay men to be introduced in Wales

Free HIV home sampling launched to increase HIV testing

People with HIV must receive earlier diagnoses

Millions of eyes monitoring will help keep us safe
The Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) has launched a campaign to encourage the public to report online material which promotes terrorism or extremism. This includes material within social media.  All reports made are anonymous unless you choose to leave your details.
YJB:  Report online material promoting terrorism or extremism
Hardly surprising given the Labour / Lib Dem majority in the Lords
The Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (SLSC) recently published the report of its inquiry into the Strathclyde Review of the House of Lords’ role in scrutinising secondary legislation.

PC&PE:  Lords should retain power to reject secondary legislation

IFG - Response to Strathclyde review

When will VW ‘fix’ the cars?

Vehicles tested in the UK programme showed no evidence of car manufacturers, apart from the VW Group, fitting devices to defeat the approved emissions test programme.

  • real driving emissions tests to be introduced from 2017
  • UK testing has been carried out alongside an investigation by the German Ministry for Transport

DfT:  Government publishes findings of diesel emissions testing programme

Not every ‘expert’ thinks Brexit will be all ‘Doom & Gloom’

According to Open Europe's comprehensive new report, UK GDP in a best case scenario, under which the UK manages to enter into liberal trade arrangements with the EU and the rest of the world, whilst pursuing large-scale deregulation at home, Britain could be better off by 1.6% of GDP in 2030.

In a worst case scenario, UK GDP could be 2.2% lower in 2030 if Britain leaves the EU and fails to strike a deal with the EU or reverts into protectionism.  However, a far more realistic range is between a 0.8% permanent loss to GDP & a 0.6% permanent gain in GDP, in scenarios where Britain mixes policy approaches.

Researched Links:

Open Europe - What if...? The consequences, challenges and opportunities facing Britain outside the EU

ASI:  Stuck in the middle with EU - Why it’s time we cut out the middle man and become global citizens

Editorial Commentary:
Examining the ‘sacrificial entrails’ of past promises & current announcements to anticipate the 2030+ future

Back in 1975 we had a PM who ‘negotiated’ a better deal in the EU (then EEC) and promised a rosy future - only if we stayed ‘in’.  To many people ‘things could only get better’ as we were ‘in debt’ (some things never change) and ‘always on strike’, so the promises of the EEC seemed very attractive to us (yes I am that old!).

History now seems to be repeating itself, which is appropriate as ‘John & Joan’ would probably not have voted to ‘stay in’ if they could have looked ahead 14+ years and seen the how treaties (such as Maastricht (1992) and Lisbon (2009) would alter our relationship with the now European Union of 28 members (EEC then 9) with another 7+ waiting in the wings to join! (EU enlargement: The next seven - BBC News).  Along the way, a planned EU Constitution was thrown out by French & Dutch voters in 2005, but what does that matter in a democratic union?

How the political establishment ‘conned’ us into believing we were joining an economic market rather than a future political & economic union has been comprehensively covered by BBC – Nick Robinson:  Them or Us and it seems the current Government is set to use the same tactics they used then (Telegraph:  Seven lessons from Britain's 1975 EEC referendum).

So if the government can project ahead and so ‘accurately’ foretell the UK’s economic & political future, why don’t we consider how some of the EU’s own recent press announcements could evolve over a similar time scale?

Take the European Agenda on Security: Paving the way towards a Security Union, which will probably evolve into an EU-wide police / security state with us being ‘forced’ by law to hand over all our high grade intelligence to other EU countries – some of which have a more ‘dubious’ reputation for both generating key intelligence & keeping secrets.  The recent experiences of the French & Belgians is the driving logic behind this centralisation, but remember that an organisation is only as strong as its weakest link and there will be some very weak links in the (probably by 2030) other 35(?) countries of the EU.  Currently we are a key member of the 5 Eyes Intelligence Alliance, but will that still be the situation in 2030?  Remember even an ‘independent’ Scotland was not guaranteed automatic access to the alliance!
The Five Eyes | Privacy International ~ Guardian:  Would Brexit damage British intelligence?

Increasingly when one talks of ‘security’ in the age of ISIS, one sees images of armed troops on the streets of Europe and hears talk of the need for ‘boots on the ground’ in places like Libya.  Despite the EU not having any armed forces, they recently published Central African Republic: EU military training mission approved.

So where will they find ‘in the field’ experienced military personnel to provide this training, as there are probably few EU countries that have them available for deployment?  As a NATO Review article says; “The numbers speak for themselves. Some 25% of NATO members do not have an air force, 30% have no naval force or maintain a navy with less than 600 sailors, and 50% are fielding an active army of less than 20,000 soldiers. Europe needs less soldiers – but more European ones - NATO

Having centralized ‘Security’, what will be more natural in an organisation that seeks ‘ever closer monetary & political union’, than the coerced merging of national armed forces by 2030?  For anyone who thinks that is a wild idea, I would refer them back to the path travelled since 1975.  The USA might then decide that a Union with a bigger population than theirs should be able pay to defend itself and that their part in NATO should only ‘defending’ the Atlantic up to the coast of the EU continent.  Could / would all EU countries then ‘stump up’ their require 2% of GDP for military expenditure and would the UK accept ‘non-naval’ countries being able to out-vote them on the design & deployment of our ships & planes (say goodbye to the defence of the Falklands)?

After one EU expansion, we were ‘promised’ only 13,000 Polish migrants a year and ended up with 700,000 over a couple of years, but many now accept that their integration into the UK has been mainly successful.  However, what happens when we start being assigned ‘our share’ of the future millions of migrants that will try & enter the EU by 2030.
Parliament advocates a centralised EU asylum system and legal ways to migrate ~ Options for reforming Common European Asylum System and developing safe & legal pathways to Europe

MEPs are demanding new EU-wide “readmission” (return) agreements which they say should take precedence over bilateral ones between member states and third countries. They insist that migrants should be returned only if the country to which they are being returned to is safe for them.
4 fundamental rights issues to consider in EU safe countries list

Even in the unlikely event that the Syrian conflict ends ‘well’, that will not stem the flow by much as ‘endless millions in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Africa, etc. flee conflict, drought & famine in search of a better life in Europe, with jobs, housing, education and PEACE.  For further crystal ball gazing you might care to check out; Population Institute: 2030 The ‘Perfect Storm’ Scenario from 2009.
Global Food & Farming Futures ~ Human tide: the real migration crisis ~ Research & Innovation: new modelling results link natural resources & armed conflicts ~ Basic life for many is sustained by food & water, not oil (2nd item)

Finally, the UK Government has assumed in its Treasury analysis that ‘all will be well’ with its path of ‘ever closer union’ (EESC encourages European Commission to go further in deepening EMU without delay), but according to EU News:  Deficit targets: EC “not strict enough”, warn EU Auditors it has been found that; The EC is not strict enough in implementing the Excessive Deficit Procedure – designed to keep EU public finances in order - according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors.   The auditors warn that the Commission does not go far enough in the crucial area of monitoring structural reform: its focus is on the legal aspects of the procedure rather than the actual reforms.
EU Agency grants: "shortcomings persist", say Auditors in new report

So, can / should we believe our UK ‘masters’ who don’t want us to rock their political boat with the UK as part of the EU?

Last time we were promised only membership of the EEC – trade but no political union & primacy of Westminster & UK laws and look where we have ended up!

This time we are told that we should stay in (‘standing to the side’), while all but 1 or 2 countries evolve into the monetary & political union of the United States of Europe combining around  33 countries by 2030+.

Before anyone decides to which way to vote in the referendum, it may pay them to (re-)read George Orwell’s book Nineteen Eighty-Four, which features the UK as is set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania (mainly Europe).
(SparkNotes: 1984: Plot Overview)


 More contributions to the EU Referendum

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

Researched Links:


Vote Leave - the campaign for a Leave vote in the EU referendum

Britain Stronger In Europe

Open Europe

HM Treasury analysis shows leaving EU would cost British households £4,300 per year

HMT:  EU referendum - HM Treasury analysis key facts

HMT:  HM Treasury analysis on the EU referendum: George Osborne's speech

Open Europe - What if...? The consequences, challenges & opportunities facing Britain outside the EU

IEA:  The free-market centre-right should embrace EU immigration policy

PC&PE:  EU membership positive for UK environment

PC&PE:  UK universities benefit while businesses lose out from EU membership

techUK:  EU Membership Report from Science & Technology Committee

ICO:  Statement on the implications of Brexit for data protection

EU News:  Deficit targets: EC “not strict enough”, warn EU Auditors

NAO:  English devolution deals

PC&PE:  UK universities benefit while businesses lose out from EU membership

Home Office:  Immigration Minister confirms UK contribution to EU/Turkey deal - UK is offering to send a team of around 75 personnel to Greece as part of the EU/Turkey deal

CJEU: Application for family reunification by non-EU Citizens – Must have stable & regular resources

Editor’s Note:  We suggest readers monitor the ‘News’ sections of the 2 campaign sites for the 2 differing views.  The WGPlus newsletter will mainly limit itself to highlighting ‘normal’ EU-related news, plus Think Tank items, PC&PE reports, etc.


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

NAO:  English devolution deals

IFG:  Response to NAO report on devolution

LGA Responds to National Audit Office report on devolution deals

Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:

There are more than eight million people in the UK with debt problems and two million without a bank account. And with serious debt problems now being caused by lower levels of arrears, this is an issue local government and housing associations increasingly grapple with, as their residents face welfare reform and mounting cuts.
Join us online for a livechat on Tuesday 26 April to explore how professionals in local government, housing and the charity sector can help those trapped by financial exclusion. Check out the expert panel here.

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Without clarity and local scrutiny we risk the prize of devolution

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Deals have little obvious accountability or a coherent sense of what they're meant to achieve

Does Tony Blair biography mark the end of public servants’ omertà?

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Senior civil serviants who laid bare their feelings to Tom Bower are rewriting conventions of government

News in brief
• Calls for ability to prosecute exploitation of Whitehall contracts
• Conservatives and Labour fielding far fewer women in police chief elections
• Government scraps proposed changes to trade union funding
• MPs launch fresh inquiry into civil service skills and effectiveness
• Council pension fund decisions will remain with sector says government