Saturday News Review

It’s all gone Nick Clegg

One question swirling through the sea of British politics is this: how will Ed Miliband act towards the Lib Dems? The Labour leader certainly didn’t flinch from attacking the yellow brigade during the leadership contest, at one point calling them a “disgrace to the traditions of liberalism.” But surely he’ll have to soften that rhetoric in case the next election delivers another bout of frenzied coalition negotiations.

Which is why Andy Burnham’s article in the Guardian today is worth noting down. In making his point – that the Lib Dems haven’t won the pupil premium they sought – he does all he can to force a wedge between Nick Clegg and his party. In other words, it looks as though Ed Miliband’s campaign promise that he could only work with a Clegg-less Lib Dem party is now official Labour policy. – The Spectator

The political significance of Clegg’s failure to fund the pupil premium is huge. It goes to the heart of the politics of the coalition, and raises real questions about Clegg’s influence within it. The issue is politically charged because it was one of the points on which the Lib-Lab post-election talks foundered.

Taken all together, I don’t think this is an education policy that most Lib Dems can sign up to. We now have not one but two major Lib Dem broken promises on education. Ruthless Tory ministers have chewed up and spat out Mr Clegg. For a party proud of its principled approach to education policy down the years – and which famously promised a penny on income tax to fund it – these are bleak times indeed. – Andy Burnham, The Guardian

Nick Clegg faces criticism after attacking the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ (IFS) assessment of the spending review as “complete nonsense”.  The deputy prime minister’s comments came after the economics thinktank said the spending review’s approach to welfare and public services would have a regressive impact. The IFS’ acting director, Carl Emmerson, had said the Treasury’s own analysis showed the poorest would be hit hardest by cuts to both public services and welfare payments. –

Where the Axe Falls

Urban areas will bear the brunt of the spending cuts announced this week with every major English city facing a triple whammy of the biggest job losses, council cuts and benefit withdrawals, a Guardian analysis of the impact of the key decisions reveals.

Local authorities with dense populations face the deepest cuts, according to a breakdown of the measures by George Osborne to slash council spending, reduce child benefit and cut the educational maintenance allowance. The predicted 490,000 job losses in the public sector will fall most heavily on cities.

In public sector job losses, the biggest losers are Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool – all largely Labour strongholds, plus the Conservative Westminster and Sheffield Hallam, which is Nick Clegg’s constituency. – The Guardian

Wayne’s World

The opulence of Wayne’s world and his record-breaking deal stands in stark contrast to the other news which rocked the city this week. It is now estimated that 40,000 people in the Greater Manchester area will lose their jobs as a result of Chancellor George Osborne’s plans to cut £83bn from public spending to fight the deficit. Those cuts will translate into the loss of 30,000 public-sector posts and a further 10,000 job losses from private businesses. The majority of jobs will be lost either in the NHS or from the region’s 10 town halls, where 6,750 workers are expected to be added to the dole queue. – The Independent

Super Councils to the Rescue

A new generation of super-councils across the country is being backed by Conservative ministers as a means to slash costs and drive up efficiency standards. A cull of smaller councils would inevitably lead to sweeping job losses.

Three Conservative-controlled councils in the capital – Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham – yesterday announced moves to share services, although they would retain their separate identities. – The Independent

Council Cuts to Cause NHS Chaos

Hospital beds will be filled by the elderly and the vulnerable because of cuts to local government care, a senior health service figure has warned. Nigel Edwards, the head of the NHS Confederation, said the pressure on beds could mean that hospitals would be unable to admit patients “who badly need care”.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, Mr Edwards said the result could be that elderly patients would have to stay on in hospital for longer as there will be no after-care available in the community. “Less support from council services will quickly lead to increased pressure on emergency services and hospitals. Hospital beds will be blocked for those who badly need care because the support services the elderly require after discharge will not be available.” – Press Association

Patients will be left untreated as the NHS struggles to mop up the consequences of severe cuts in local authority funding, said Nigel Edwards, the head of the NHS Confederation. In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, Mr Edwards — whose organisation represents NHS trusts running hospitals and ambulance services — says the cuts in local authority budgets will force them to reduce care services for the elderly and vulnerable. – The Telegraph

Mandelson’s U-Turn

During the leadership campaign, Mandelson criticized Miliband at various points, blaming him for the platform Labour ran on in May’s election and warning Miliband could lead the party down “an electoral cul-de-sac.”

However, in a telephone interview with Dow Jones Newswires Friday, Mandelson said the new Labour leader had positioned himself well on the key political debate over how to handle the country’s fiscal challenges.

“Ed has done what the leader of the opposition needs to do, make a serious argument that has credibility and speaks for the views of many in the country,” Mandelson said. “He has done that successfully.” – The Wall Street Journal

The Rocky Road to NPF Reform

Labour‘s method of making policy has not achieved its objectives, has been far too distant from ordinary party members and has created a great deal of cynicism, Peter Hain says today.

Hain, the man chosen by Ed Miliband to lead Labour’s policy forum, says in a Guardian interview: “I defend the policy forum principle, but there is a great deal of cynicism amongst party members that we need to address. If you disempower your membership, you start down the road to losing, and that is what happened during our 13 years of power.

“I feel rejuvenating our national policy forum is a precondition to winning the next election, and that is very much Ed Miliband’s view.” – The Guardian

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