Autumn Statement 2016
The Chancellor prepares for (& others pontificate on) the worst case scenario with no ‘guesses’ about upside to Brexit in Autumn Statement.
Researched Links:

HM Treasury:  Autumn Statement 2016: some of the things we've announced

HMT:  7 things you need to know about the new Budget timetable

HMT:  Autumn Statement 2016: Philip Hammond's speech

HMT:  £800m boost to ScotGov’s capital budgets in Autumn Statement

HMT:  WAG to benefit from over £400m boost to capital budgets from Autumn Statement

HMT:  NIA to see £250m boost to capital budget in Autumn Statement

HMT:  Low Pay Commission welcomes acceptance of new minimum wage rates

HMT:  Department for International Trade’s Autumn Statement settlement

10DS:  PM announces major research boost to make Britain the go-to place for innovators & investors

CLG:  Sajid Javid: a housing market that works for everyone

MoD:  LIBOR funding flows for military community

ScotGov:  True cost of Brexit revealed

National Infrastructure Commission Autumn Statement Response: Government acceptance of NIC recommendations most welcome

NHS Confederation:  The Autumn Statement missed a golden opportunity to ease the strain on the NHS

The King's Fund responds to the Autumn Statement

techUK:  Chancellor recognises that a Match-fit Britain will be a Tech-fit Britain

techUK:  An Autumn (Statement) Springboard for UK’s Digital Communications Infrastructure

techUK welcomes Fourth Industrial Revolution report

techUK:  Autumn Statement: Internet of Things & Smart Infrastructure

techUK:  Fintech Features Prominently in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

CAB:  Autumn Statement “tackles some of the problems facing struggling families”

Citizens Advice briefing - the challenges facing families who are just about managing

Time to think again on cuts to ESA, says Citizens Advice

ACE:  Autumn Statement: our response

CIPD Response to Autumn Statement

FDA:  Brexit has changed everything - except the civil service being properly resourced to prepare for it

FDA:  Autumn Statement - HMRC union welcomes single fiscal event announcement and tax system measures but stresses need for proper resourcing

CBI: Full Autumn Statement 2016 reaction

TUC hits out at government inaction to stimulate wages in Autumn Statement

Demos Responds to the Autumn Statement

IEA:  Fiscal rules are no more than vague hopes for this government

IPPR response to Autumn Statement 2016

IPPR Scotland:  UK Autumn Statement leaves significant cuts for Scotland

IPPR North comment on the Autumn Statement

IFG:  Response to the 2016 Autumn Statement

ASI:  Reassuringly boring, but a missed opportunity

NLGN: Chancellor fails to address growing crisis in health & social care

NIESR: OBR lays bare fiscal cost of Brexit

Autumn Statement: JRF response

Timid & underwhelming: New Economics Foundation's response to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement

Homeless Link:  Chancellor's Autumn Statement bans letting fees

WWF-UK comments on the Autumn Statement


Wednesday 7 December 2016: 14:00 – 15:00 GMT

Local authorities face the challenge of rapidly expanding volumes of information, spiralling inconsistency and a decentralised approach to records management.

Join our webinar for expert guidance on:

  • bridging gaps between departments
  • using research to support decisions
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The webinar combines fresh insight from our new research, ‘The Challenge of Sharing – Information management in UK local authorities in 2016 and beyond’ with practical guidance

Your front-row seat is waiting…

Click here to find out more and register for the webinar.

Unfortunately there NEVER seems to be enough funding!
The financial performance of NHS bodies worsened considerably in 2015-16 and this trend is not sustainable, according to the National Audit Office.
Researched Links:

NAO:  Financial sustainability of the NHS

The King’s Fund responds to the NAO report on the financial sustainability of the NHS

LGA responds to NAO report on financial sustainability of the NHS

NHS Confederation:  The Autumn Statement missed a golden opportunity to ease the strain on the NHS

The King's Fund responds to the Autumn Statement

NLGN: Chancellor fails to address growing crisis in health & social care

The problem is getting worse by the day

We have ‘known’ about the problem for decades, but little ever seems to be achieved

NHS England:  Multimorbidity – the biggest clinical challenge facing the NHS?

NHS England:  Realising the Value – connecting people & communities

It’s a killer!

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England Medical Director, has issued a rallying call to healthcare professionals across the country to focus on improving early recognition & timely treatment of sepsis.

At a recent event in London last night and ahead of a major new public awareness campaign delivered in collaboration with the UK Sepsis Trust, he set out the work that has been done so far to help nurses & doctors to recognise and treat sepsis and what more can be done to reduce deaths from sepsis.
Researched Links:

NHS England:  NHS unites to tackle sepsis

UK Sepsis Trust

Made in Wales SepsisBox to be unveiled to international audience at Medica

Sepsis is just as urgent as heart attack, says NICE

12 NHS Hospital trusts to trail blaze NHS’s Digital Revolution

Cutting unnecessary emergencies

Vulnerable patients and their families suffering harrowing ordeals due to poor hospital discharge

Success in NHS push to reduce avoidable antibiotic prescribing

Not enough evidence to recommend routine use of promising new tests to help identify cause of sepsis says NICE in final guidance

Patients Association - NHS 111 failed to diagnose baby suffering from sepsis

NICE consults on guideline to speed up recognition & treatment of sepsis

New NHS England action plan to help tackle ‘silent killer’ sepsis

More research needed on procalcitonin tests for diagnosing bacterial infection says NICE in guidance

Early stage Med Tech firms showcase ground breaking diagnostic devices at Venturefest Wales

Woman’s death was avoidable, Ombudsman finds

New action to reduce sepsis

Ombudsman finds variation in quality of NHS investigations into complaints of avoidable death and avoidable harm

No one is safe from ‘attack!’

Following the success of the IA15 and CyberUK 2016 events, the National Cyber Security Centre is pleased to announce that they will be returning to Liverpool for CyberUK 2017.  This is a 3-day event that will bring together cyber security leaders & professionals from across the UK’s information security communities from both the public and private sector.

CyberUK 2017 will be held 14–16 March 2017 at the Arena and Conference Centre in Liverpool.  The event will have two elements:

  • CyberUK Strategy — aimed at decision makers across central & wider government, the critical national infrastructure, industry and academia
  • CyberUK in Practice — designed for information security & technology practitioners

National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) announces flagship event: CyberUK 2017

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Not an obvious target, but data could provide access to more important systems

An STFC events registration site was the victim of a cyber-attack by unknown perpetrators earlier this month.  The hackers extracted a registration database, containing personal non-financial information from approximately 12,000 registrations.

STFC has written to all individuals listed on this database to advise them of the cyber-attack, to apologise for the release of their data, and to provide information on the enhanced security features and other actions they have taken in response.

Although the database does not contain financial information, they are strongly advising affected individuals that if the password used for this service is also used for other cloud services (e.g. shopping or banking), they should change those passwords as soon as possible.
Researched Links:

STFC:  Update on cyber-attack

Ensuring the safety of the UK

ICO:  “Would you like us to email you a receipt?”

ScotGov:  Cybercrime is coming to town

Sometimes consultation does have an impact
Lord Porter, Chairman of the LGA has responded to the Government announcement that Pay to Stay will be voluntary for councils.
Researched Links:

Pay to stay to be voluntary for councils - LGA responds

LGA calls on Government to rethink pay to stay policy

CLG:  Fair rents will ensure higher-earning tenants 'pay to stay'

It may not be a White Christmas but ‘freezing’ is still an essential part of it
In the run-up to Christmas, the Food Standards Agency is promoting a range of messages to help people plan their festive cooking and work out what & when to cook, freeze and defrost in order to have a less stressful & wasteful Christmas. These messages will be delivered by the ‘FSA Freezer Fairy’ in the form of tips & advice.

FSA:  Freezing food can lead to a less wasteful Christmas

How did they manage before freezers?

Some would say the Barnett Formula settlement for Wales must be too generous if they can afford this!

In September 2016 a radical overhaul of student finance in Wales was published after an independent review led by Professor Sir Ian Diamond and a panel of experts.  The Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has published the Welsh Government’s response, setting out how it will secure the stability & sustainability of higher education and student finance arrangements in Wales.

The Welsh Government will implement, with only minor modification, the Diamond package.  This means the average Welsh student could receive £7,000 a year in grant support while they study, with a pro-rata version available to part-time students.  The maximum level of support available is expected to be more than £9,000 a year for those studying full–time if implemented in 2018/19.

The Diamond review modelled a range of household income thresholds for those eligible for means-tested support.  WAG has decided to set the upper threshold at £59,200. This is an increase of around £8,000 on current arrangements.  This would mean 70% of Welsh students will be eligible for some form of means-tested grant support, in addition to a universal £1,000, with around 35% eligible for the maximum grant.
Researched Links:

WAG:  Plans published for new Welsh student finance system that provides for all

EU student funding guarantee for Welsh universities extended

Tuition fees in Wales frozen

Evidence summary published as part of the Diamond Review

If they insist on a ‘Hard’ Brexit why would our Armed Forces put their lives on the line to defend them?

Terrorism, hybrid threats and cyber- & energy insecurity leave EU countries no choice but to step up their security and defence cooperation efforts, thus paving the way to a European Defence Union.

MEPs suggest:

*devoting 2% of each country’s GDP to defence

*establishing multinational forces and EU headquarters to plan & command crisis management operations

*enabling the EU to act where NATO is unwilling to do so

(Editor:  Who would decide when urgent action should be taken – the EC, EP or the Council of Ministers and who would pay the ‘bill’ for nations providing resources for that action, while others ‘stay at home’?  As a past 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”.

Would it be the president of the EC, Mr Junker, who comes from Luxembourg, which apparently spends less than 0.5% of GDP per year on defence?  Hardly an inspiring military leader in the mould of Winston Churchill, or Dwight D. Eisenhower!
Researched Links:

Defence: MEPs push for more EU cooperation to better protect Europe

Defence Secretary reviews NATO’s reassurance role with Secretary General

10DS:  PM meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: 23 November 2016

Defence Expenditures of NATO Countries

PC&PE:  "Woefully low" total of Navy escort vessels could shrink still further

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

Now we know why the SNP don’t care about migration from the EU!

National Records of Scotland have published additional population projections for Scotland based on varying potential levels of EU migration.

The 3 additional variant projections do not have National Statistics status and have been created for illustrative purposes only.  The additional variant projections are: zero future EU migration; 50% future EU migration (50% less future EU migration); and 150% future EU migration (50% more future EU migration). Each of these variants has been produced for both Scotland and the UK as a whole (including Scotland).

The principal projection is the main projection, and if current trends continue it suggests that the population of Scotland may rise from 5.35m in 2014 to 5.7m in 2039 – an increase of 7% over the 25 year period.                         

In the zero future EU migration variant, the population of Scotland is projected to rise to 5.49m in 2039 – an increase of 3% from 2014.  However under this variant, the population is projected to peak at 5.50m in 2033 and then decline gradually after that point.

For the 50% future EU migration variant, the population of Scotland is projected to rise to 5.59m in 2039 – an increase of 5% from 2014.

ScotGov:  Statistical News Release ~ The Impact of Migration on UK Population Growth - Migration Observatory ~ According the principal projection, England will experience by far the largest population growth (+17% over the next 25 years)

Editorial Comment:  Why are the SNP striving for less democratic representation?

Every week seems to bring yet more demands from the SNP for Scotland to ‘remain’ in the EU, yet they never mention one obvious impact of such an outcome – fewer democratically elected representatives!

Currently Scotland has 59 MPs (out of 650 & due to reduce to 600) at Westminster, 129 MSPs and 6 MEPs (out of 751 – 73 for the UK as a whole)) to represent approx. 5.4m people.

As an independent country (and it looks like it would have to become one), it would have something like 129 MSPs and possibly 12 MEPs to represent approx. 5.4m people – (Ireland has 11 MEPs with 4.8m).

What makes the SNP think that they will have more influence (if any) on EU decisions / legislation than they currently have?  If the UK as a whole cannot ‘stop’ the onward march of ‘Federal Europe’, what hope for Scotland?

Added to which they will have minimal influence on future decisions made by rUK - including in areas such as infrastructure development (including a possible HS2 link to Scotland) and support for North Sea Oil and would have to pay for everything themselves! 

One could indeed argue that the UK should call a halt to all such payments/investments until such time as the SNP accept that they have had their ‘once in a lifetime’ independence referendum and stop threatening to have another one.  After all, why should we ‘financially support’ a Scotland that might soon leave the UK taking its (substantially funded by England) infrastructure with it?

Latest update; The UK Chancellor has actually given an £800m boost to ScotGov’s capital budgets in the Autumn Statement.  One hopes he won’t hold his breath while waiting for any thanks from the SNP!

HMT:  £800m boost to ScotGov’s capital budgets in Autumn Statement ~ PC&PE:  Uncertainty risks harming growth in Scotland's renewable energy industry ~ UK Chancellor challenged to step up for North Sea ~ New infrastructure guarantee for Speyside renewable energy plan issued by Treasury ~ ScotGov:  FM meets EU Ambassadors ~ An independent Scotland could require more than the ‘benefits of £24bn’ to both pay for the extension of HS2 and the subsidies of the existing railway(s)

Furthermore, with regard to ScotGov starting legal challenges on the reserved matter of UK treaties (including Brexit), perhaps we should declare ‘open season’ on one current devolved issue in Scotland – Fox Hunting!  Given that the SNP MPs ‘interfered’ with proposed UK legislation on Fox Hunting against parliamentary convention, why shouldn’t the UK government start a legal challenge on the basis that changes in Scottish foxhunting laws could impact on rUK, as the foxes can run across the current soft border?

ScotGov:  Fox hunting laws ~ The Guardian:  Government shelves foxhunting vote after SNP opposition ~ Scottish Government will intervene in Article 50 legal case ~ WAG given go-ahead to intervene in Supreme Court ‘Brexit’ Appeal ~ Electoral Commission sets out views on Scottish Government’s draft referendum bill

 More contributions following EU Referendum

Still a ‘hot topic’, with widely spread views, for those who put fingers to keyboard in order to ‘share their views’:

Researched Links:

FCO:  Alok Sharma: The future of UK trade after Brexit

Cabinet Office:  British-Irish Council Summit: Focus on EU exit and 'Early Years' policy

ScotGov:  EU justice summit

ScotGov:  Focus on security & justice after Brexit vote

ScotGov:  Increased investment ‘essential’

ScotGov:  Scotland; A European Nation

ScotGov:  FM meets EU Ambassadors

ScotGov:  FM - Outward-looking, welcoming approach key to growth and opportunity

ScotGov:  Statistical News Release

ScotGov:  True cost of Brexit revealed

ScotGov:  Brexit impact on research discussed

ScotGov:  Protecting Single Market status

WAG:  EU funding boost to roll out skills project across Wales

WAG:  American trade retreat will reinforce need for single market access

CBI: 7 in 10 firms plan to increase or maintain innovation spending in light of Brexit

CBI President: Firms 100% committed to making best of Brexit

TUC:  Government fund to tackle migration impacts is little more than ministerial spare change – (TUC: Pension industry report highlights need to build on auto-enrolment

EU News:  EU support stable, but outlook bleak, finds Eurobarometer poll

Defence: MEPs push for more EU cooperation to better protect Europe

IEA:  Keep freedom of movement regardless of single market membership report says

IPPR North:  Brexit boost to life sciences ‘could close North-South health gap’


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

Electoral Commission sets out views on Scottish Government’s draft referendum bill

Scotland Office:  David Mundell 'State of the City' speech: Scottish Government must embrace local devolution

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

Last weeks autumn statement has effectively told the public sector things are business as usual, writes David Walker. But "as you were" means that the sector remains on a trajectory to shrink.
"The language about public service may be softer than under David Cameron but the implications for civil and other public servants are as dark as ever: numbers will go on declining amid tight control of pay," he writes.
The UK's civil servants aren't alone. The latest OECD survey says civil servants in nearly all its 35 member countries have had their pay frozen, their numbers cut and departments downsized. But austerity has had little effect on the ethos of public service, according to the OECD. It hasn’t increased corruption or led to “misappropriate” use of public resources. This, says Walker, "makes civil servants a kind of human shield for the political prophets of austerity."
Local government however, was disappointed with the lack of any measures to address the social care funding gap but welcomed affordable housing plans and infrastructure investment, including transport.
You can read the full Public Leaders Network round-up of local government reactions to the autumn statement here.

Also on the network

Local government: mixed views as social care misses out

Local government: mixed views as social care misses out
The autumn statement focused on devolution and housing at the expense of health and social care. We round up local government reactions

A modern rail network in Scotland is long overdue

A modern rail network in Scotland is long overdue
Why does it take 80 minutes by train south from Edinburgh to Newcastle, but an hour longer the same distance north?

Laugh away, Jeremy Clarkson, but we 'traffic wombles' play a vital role

Laugh away, Jeremy Clarkson, but we 'traffic wombles' play a vital role
Cuts to other emergency services mean a Highways England traffic officer like me may well be first on the scene if there’s an accident

News in brief
• Autumn statement vows £400m for key Brexit departments – as union warns of exit "on the cheap"
• Civil service unable to cope with Brexit, warns former Whitehall chief
• Communities ‘can take no more pain’, councillors warn
• Conservative councils reluctant to grant planning permission
• Care providers ditching local authority contracts, says Tory council leader