The Guardian, February 20th 2004, p.21
Spiralling compensation against local authorities and the NHS are starving public services of funds. Individuals are cashing in at the expense of the welfare state and the common good.
N. Arend and A. Lent
Public Finance, Feb. 13th-19th 2004, p.24-25
Giving public service users more choice has to go hand-in-hand with ensuring that there is enough provision to meet the choices people want to make. User choice means that:
The Independent, February 17th 2004, p.4
The Shadow Chancellor has announced that a future Conservative government would increase spending on the NHS and education by 4% in the first two years. But there would be a funding freeze on social security, transport, defence and overseas aid. However plans to increase the state pension would be preserved. Wasteful and inefficient programmes would be cut completely or privatised.
(See also The Daily Telegraph, February 17th 2004, p.1+4; Financial Times,
February 17th 2004, p.1+2; The Times, February 17th 2004, p.6)
J. Grieve Smith
Financial Times, February 19th 2004, p.17
Voters are not satisfied with present standards in health and education and other public services. Because public services such as health and education are labour intensive, with little room for improvement in productivity, raising standards will be costly and taxation will have to increase. Taxes will also have to increase to support growing numbers of retired people as the population ages. Tax reduction can only come about through encouraging the spread of private education and healthcare.
J. Bradshaw and E. Mayhew
International Journal of Market Research, vol.46, 2004, p.49-63
Conservative politicians of the 1980s and early 1990s sought (largely unsuccessfully) to reduce state welfare provision. New Labour's policies have been dominated by a fear of the electoral consequences of expanding public spending and raising taxation, and by a repulsion from dependency. In contrast, majority public opinion has favoured improving services even if it means increasing taxation.
London: Salvation Army, 2004
Report identifies four pillars of care in the UK today: the individual, the government, charities and the private sector. It finds that a sense of partnership between them has not been developed adequately, and changing views on who should be responsible for caring for the vulnerable increases the gaps. Report highlights shortfalls in provision such as insufficient places in residential care homes for older people, low income families suffering from a lack of affordable childcare, and informal carers suffering from a lack of support and respite. Points out that, while individuals generally support the concept of volunteering, few will take practical action. The Salvation Army intends offering more flexible opportunities for volunteering to encourage good citizenship.
The Times, February 20th 2004, p.14
Summarises proposals from a leaked Downing Street Strategy report on improving people's lives in the areas of health, employment, crime and education. In health, it proposes fining patients for non-attendance at appointments, and online support groups for chronically ill people. In employment, it highlights two North American schemes to reduce joblessness in deprived areas. A US system called "chain employment" encourages companies to recruit one or two workers from deprived areas who then act as recruiters in those areas. In Canada, people from poor areas are given grants to work or volunteer in prosperous areas. In crime reduction, report proposes giving young offenders incentives to stay on at school.
(See also The Guardian, February 20th 2004, p.7)
Public Finance, Jan.30th-Feb.5th 2004, p.26-27
Government is floating proposals for introducing more extensive charging for public services. Charging is regarded as a way of raising revenue in the context of resistance to higher taxation, as a means of reducing demand, and as being widely used and accepted in Europe. Author argues that where charges are used as a supplement to taxation, they should help advance key social, environmental or economic outcomes, rather than just being about raising revenue.