News round-up 19/6: Treasury retreats from Dilnot
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Speaking on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, the BBC News home editor Mark Easton cited Treasury concerns about subsidising the care costs of the wealthy, as proposed by the Dilnot Commission, at a time of public sector cuts and when the government was talking about reducing universal benefits for pensioners. It would “hardly play to the slogan ‘we’re all in this together’” if the government were to “transfer funds to the legacies of well-off baby boomers,” sources told him.
Also on the programme, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said cross-party talks on funding social care reform were “not happening anything like as urgently or as quickly as I’d like to see.” The Labour peer Lord Warner, a member of the Dilnot Commission, said the proposals could be funded by setting the cap at £50,000 rather than £35,000; by putting a levy on inheritance tax; by removing the exemption from national insurance from people who worked after retirement age and by “looking at collecting money after death.”
Unison has served notice on the government that pay will be the next industrial battleground and plans to coordinate action across schools, hospitals and local authorities if ministers do not halt a long-term pay freeze, the Guardian reports.
Following on from similar warnings at GMB’s annual conference, reported last week by LGC, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis told members assembled in Bournemouth that the three year pay freeze had to end.
Meanwhile, the Financial Times says the government has paved the way to drop controversial plans for regional variation in public sector pay, with Downing Street saying there will be “no change” to the current system without “strong evidence” to support an overhaul.
Reporting on another u-turn, the paper says ministers are poised to bury Adrian Beecroft’s proposal to free employers to fire at will after businesses proved to be divided over the measure.
Almost 7 million working-age adults are in extreme financial stress, according to a study of employed households commissioned by the Guardian. 3.6m British households have little or no savings, no equity in their homes and struggle at the end of each month to feed themselves and their children adequately, the paper writes.
The findings show that such households are vulnerable to something as simple as an unexpectedly large fuel bill, and challenge the argument put forward by work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith that parents should get a job to ensure their children are not brought up in poverty.
Business secretary Vince Cable has raised the prospect of councils acting as buyers of last resort for housebuilders in an attempt to give construction companies reassurance at a time of economic uncertainty, the Financial Times reports.
Teachers are failing to prevent racist and anti-homosexual name-calling in schools, according to Ofsted. The Daily Telegraph says that a report by Ofsted has found that pupils are often allowed to get away with “derogatory” language including insults based on disability, race, religion and family circumstances.
Sweeping changes to the way the civil service works will be announced today when the government sets out reforms designed to improve accountability, flatten hierarchies and ensure Whitehall works more like a business, the Financial Times writes.