News round-up 19/9: Osborne pressured to cut welfare further
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Chancellor George Osborne has come under increasing pressure from Conservative MPs to cut working-age benefits, the Financial Times writes. This pressure follows fears among Conservative MPs that the coalition government will miss its target to start cutting national debt by 2015.
The Times reports that the chancellor will turn his welfare cuts into law before the next election to reassure markets that he is serious about cutting the deficit.
Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that the think tank Resolution Foundation has found that big welfare savings could be made in the next few years by linking benefits to wages, rather than inflation. The organisation argues that “driving down unemployment is an essential precondition to securing wage growth”.
The Office for National Statistics has proposed to change the way it calculates the retail price index measure of inflation to reduce the “formula effect gap” between RPI and the lower consumer price index inflation rate. The move would save the government money, the Financial Times reports. It would also affect local government in a number of ways, including through any index-linked investments as well as the business rate retention system which is set to link tariff and top up payments to RPI.
Payments by results
Support services supplier Capita has won a new government contract to track down illegal immigrants missing in the UK, but the company will only receive full payment if it catches a target number of overstayers. The Financial Times said the target set by UK Border Agency was “not clear”.
The Daily Telegraph reports a whistleblower’s claim that, as a result of cutbacks, the town of Uttoxeter in Staffordshire is sometimes left with no police officers. It says the whistleblower, a serving officer, has claimed the town has “no one to uphold the law” when officers are drafted in to cover a student night in a neighbouring area.