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Category: Public services

Three things to bear in mind when watching Osborne today

Date: 26. June 2013
James Plunkett

Why everyone’s pretty much making it up

1. Most of today’s cuts were decided three years ago In his statement today, the Chancellor needs to find cuts in most unprotected departments of around 8-9 per cent. That number flows mainly from three things: the pace of deficit reduction; the decision to protect health, schools, international development and pensioners; and forecasts for so-called Annually Managed Expenditure (AME). All three are either old news or else significantly beyond Osborne’s direct control. That’s not to say that today’s decisions don’t matter. Some departments will get more or less than 8-9 per cent—if briefings are right, local government will lose 10 per cent, meaning fewer cuts elsewhere. But these are relatively small movements around a big number that flows from existing plans.

2. Today’s cuts will hurt but things are set to get tougher The Chancellor will be pleased at the lack of blood on Whitehall carpets today. Tough settlements have been reached and coalition relationships have held up well. Even with no extra benefit cuts being announced in his statement, Osborne has also succeeded in baking in a tough settlement on welfare.

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The price of motherhood

Date: 15. March 2012
Vidhya Alakeson

For the first time last year, the hourly gap in pay between full-time working men and women fell to 10 percent. While that’s not good enough and is still higher than in much of the rest of Europe, it is a sign of enormous progress in reducing work place inequality. In 1997, the hourly full-time pay gap was double. Unfortunately, this is less true for mothers. While employment among women without children is similar to that of their male counterparts, employment among mothers falls far behind. So while we should celebrate our progress on gender equality, the price of motherhood remains too high.

Part of the high price of motherhood comes from the fact that many women with children want to work part-time but in order to do so, they have to take a big cut in position and pay.

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social care elderly

The scandal of low-paid care workers

Date: 22. December 2011
Gavin Kelly and Joe Coward

This post originally appeared on the New Statesman blog

A friend who is a care worker employed by an agency has a moan to me about her work. Repeated 15 minute slots with a client followed by a frantic dash to another part of the city she lives in to do the same again. Care in a hurry, on the cheap. Welcome to home care for growing numbers in Britain: some of our most vulnerable people cared for by a growing number of overly stretched and underpaid workers.

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childcare slider

Universal Credit: winners and losers

Date: 17. November 2011
Vidhya Alakeson and

This post originally appeared on the Public Finance blog

Iain Duncan Smith has found an extra £300m for childcare in his Universal Credit, but women who want to work longer hours will lose out. The result is only going to make households worse off

Earlier this month, the government announced the level of support that would be available for childcare under Universal Credit when it is introduced in 2013. This is equivalent to the support currently available to low-to-middle income families through the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit.

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Cameron Reform

Haven't I seen this revolution before?

Date: 12. July 2011
Gavin Kelly and

This blog first appeared on the New Statesman.

David Cameron's public service reforms suffer from a serious zeitgeist problem.

Buried under the detritus of the escalating News International scandal is the government's long awaited public services white paper. Assuming you missed it, it's all about the need for "narrative" and to demonstrate a coherent governing project.

Senior politicians, and the commentators they talk to, obsess about this. Strange though it may seem to much of the public, the need to produce these wide ranging plans on public services can feel all-consuming to those working in No.10. On this front, the current administration is no different to its predecessors.

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