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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2003): Welfare State - UK

53% OF INNER LONDON CHILDREN 'LIVE IN POVERTY'

J Carvel

The Guardian, November 19th 2002, p.14

More than half the 600,000 children living in inner London are being brought up in households with incomes below the government's official poverty line, according to a report today for Ken Livingstone, the city's Mayor. The report shows child poverty in inner London is worse than in any other region of Britain.

DELIVERING WELFARE 2ND ED

T Butcher

Buckingham: Open University Press, 2002

Book provides an up-to-date and critical survey of the role of central government, local authorities, the NHS and other agencies in the welfare state. It looks at their role in delivering social services and the direction that social welfare has taken since the early 1980s.

DEVELOPING PRODUCTIVE PARTNERSHIPS

District Audit

2002

Partnership working in local authorities has become the norm and agencies feel comfortable working together. However there are still questions around how much value partnerships add, their inclusivity, and their probity arrangements.

LABOUR MISSES 75% OF PERFORMANCE TARGETS

M Kite

The Times, November 18th 2002, p.2

Gordon Brown's strategy of investment in return for reform is called into question by the admission that three quarters of his performance targets for schools and hospitals have not been met. Only 30 of the 130 public service agreements or PSAs set in 2000 have been adhered to.

MINISTER TARGETS SECOND HOME OWNERS

D Hetherington

The Guardian, November 20th 2002, p.12

Second home owners in England face big increases in council tax under plans to give town halls power to cut discounts so that money can be found for building new homes and funding local services.

NO ELITISM IN PUBLIC SECTOR, BLAIR INSISTS

P Wintour

The Guardian, November 5th 2002, p.11

Faced with criticism that foundation hospitals and specialist schools will create two-tier services, Mr Blair said his goal was to maximise consumer choice. The Prime Minister signalled imminent reform of pensions, NHS consultants' contracts, and higher education funding.

(See also The Independent, November 5th 2002, p.4; Financial Times, November 5th 2002, p.2)

RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION: A PUBLIC SERVICE WORKFORCE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

Audit Commission

2002

Concludes that action must be taken to tackle the causes of staff shortages in the public sector, which could reach crisis point, particularly in London and the south east. Points to stress as the main reason for the exodus of public sector workers. Says that employers need to understand why people leave and that central government must be seen to provide greater support for public sector workers.

RECRUITMENT DIFFICULTIES WEIGH DOWN PUBLIC SECTOR

N Timmins, J Kelly and M Odell

Financial Times, Nov 27th 2002, p.4

Presents statistics of vacancy rates in the NHS, schools and social services. In the NHS there are 1000 unfilled vacancies for laboratory staff due to low pay and shortages of nurses persist. Vacancy rates for social workers nationally run at about 15%. A recent survey by the National Association of Headteachers has shown more than 6% of posts in London schools to be unfilled.

STEERING A STEADY COURSE: DELIVERING STABILITY, FAIRNESS AND ENTERPRISE IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD: PRE-BUDGET REPORT NOVEMBER 2002

Treasury

London: TSO, 2002 (Cm.5664)

Existing tax reliefs on private pension contributions and tax-free lump sums paid to retirees will remain. The tax credit scheme will be extended to childless couples and single people with incomes below £280 and £200 per week respectively. From October 2003 pensioners with incomes below £134.00 per week (£200 for couples) will benefit from new tax credits worth £2bn. The government is considering tax and insurance incentives for employers' childcare schemes, and increasing flexibility in time off for parents. On training and skills, Manchester United's chairman is to head a new taskforce on apprenticeships and £60m has been pledged to fund work experience for school children. Employers will be encouraged to allow time off for training. £75m has been earmarked to promote enterprise education in schools.

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