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Views of the week: 20 May 2010

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LGC rounds up the best comment, analysis and opinion from the past week.

John Denham in the Guardian on Labour and fairness

New Labour had a set of assumptions about how political, economic and social change could happen. For 10 years, it worked pretty well: a liberal market economic policy produced wealth that could be reinvested in public services or transferred to those on the lowest incomes. But the genuine effort to tackle poverty created sharp fault lines that cut across the common sense of British fairness.

Many could not see why they got little support for hard work, when others apparently received much more for less. We never made the health of civil society central to our vision of change, leaving many people feeling we had nothing to say on family values, decent behaviour, the responsibilities to work and obey the law, which are even more important to a heterogeneous and socially diverse society.

Pick of the Blogs

National defecit, local solutions

Laurie Thraves, policy analyst, LGiU

After the love-in, the tough work of taming the deficit begins. The NHS will be required to deliver at least £20bn of efficiency savings.

Smarter procurement will have a big role to play in meeting these targets. The received wisdom is that hospitals will purchase services from big suppliers who can deliver substantial economies of scale.

The risk is that we end up with two or three behemouths that serve the entire NHS - failing to generate the necessary competition between suppliers. But turning to large suppliers isn’t the only game in town.

The BBC has reported that one NHS trust is buying food from a network of small, local suppliers and is already saving £6m per year. Crucially, pressure from new suppliers to join the scheme should ensure it provides food at a competitive price in the long term.

Full blog available on

Twitterati - Osborne and his emergency budget

HelensWitter: So emergency budget will be issued on 22 June. Is this because Osborne is over-excited and wants a go on his new red briefcase?

neilreddin: The emergency budget on 22 June will reveal the first round of cuts that Labour swept under the carpet.

secretlondon: “Office for budget responsibility” sounds like a way of depoliticising the cuts.

TLDORC: Osborne has cleverly timed the budget to coincide with France v S. Africa, Mexico v Uruguay, Greece v Argentina + Nigeria v S. Korea. Smart.

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