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MPs to hear evidence on the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review

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kevin
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This week the Commons Treasury Committee takes evidence on the 2010 Spending Review, hearing from Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander on Wednesday and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on Thursday.

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Andrew Tyrie, Chairman of the Committee said:

“Parliament and the public need to be reassured that these very difficult decisions about cuts to jobs and services are being made in the fairest possible way.

 

This inquiry is the most wide-ranging the Treasury Committee has undertaken on a spending review. We will be scrutinising in particular precisely how the Treasury and the star-chamber determined departmental settlements and the impact of ring-fencing on this process.

 

We are hearing from a range of experts and interested parties in the field, as well as from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Chancellor himself and will produce a report following the hearings.”

Witnesses

Monday 1 November 2010

in the Thatcher Room, Portcullis House

at 4.15 pm

  • Carl Emmerson, Acting Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies
  • Mike Brewer, Director, Direct Tax and Welfare, Institute for Fiscal Studies

at 5.15 pm

  • John Appleby, Chief Economist, Kings Fund
  • Simon Maxwell, Senior Research Associate, Overseas Development Institute

at 5.45 pm

  • Dr Paul Cornish, Head, International Security Programme, Chatham House
  • Trevor Taylor, Professorial Research Fellow in Defence Management, RUSI
  • Malcolm Chalmers, Professorial Fellow in British Security Policy, RUSI

Tuesday 2 November 2010

in the Thatcher Room Portcullis House

at 9.45 am

  • John Philpott, Chief Economist, CIPD
  • Adam Lent, Chief Economist, TUC
  • Priyen Patel, Policy Advisor Economic Affairs, FSB
  • Ian McCafferty, Chief Economist, CBI

at 11.00 am

  • Gillian Guy, Chief Executive, Citizens Advice
  • David Montague, Chief Executive, L&Q Group
  • David Orr, Chief Executive, National Housing Federation

Wednesday 3 November 2010

in the Grimond Room, Portcullis House

at 10.00 am

  • Treasury Officials

Wednesday 3 November 2010

in Room 15, Palace of Westminster

at 2.00 pm

  • Danny Alexander MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury

 

Thursday 4 November 2010

in the Thatcher Room, Portcullis House

at 9.45 am

  • George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer 

These sessions will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis. There is no system for the prior reservation of seats in Committee Rooms. It is advisable to allow about 20 minutes to pass through security checks. Timings and room numbers are subject to change.

Further Information

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-sele...<

also see http://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2010/11/lords-debate-comprehensiv...<

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kevin
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Louise Ellman, Labour and Co-operative MP for Liverpool, Riverside, moved a debate in Westminster Hall on Thursday 25 November on the subject of the impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review on the Department of Transport.

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Westminster Hall debates

Westminster Hall adjournment debates allow MPs to discuss issues of local or personal interest which rarely have time to be debated in the main Chamber of the House of Commons. MPs can discuss a variety of issues and receive a response from a government Minister.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2010/11/westminster-hall-debate-o...<

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kevin
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The Treasury Committee published its Report on the Spending Review 2010 on Friday 26 November. The Report provides cross-party commentary on the Government’s Spending Review, which will shape public policy for the coming Parliament.

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The Report notes that scrutiny of the Government’s consolidation reform plans will be one of the Committee’s key tasks over the entire course of the Parliament, and that it expects to conduct regular enquiries into the Government's fiscal and expenditure planning, and the OBR's forecasts.

Committee Chairman, Andrew Tyrie, said:

"Today’s report is a first step towards a higher level of scrutiny of public spending than previously undertaken. Whilst there is general party political agreement that consolidation is necessary, there continue to be differences over its precise method, timing and pace. It will be a major challenge to ensure that all parts of the United Kingdom benefit from future growth. The Government has announced some policies designed to help achieve this, and we will monitor their progress closely."

Process

The Report notes the use of the Public Expenditure Committee, and a wide range of systems of meetings and more select groups, such as the "quadrilateral", formed of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Chief Secretary. It notes that these arrangements, reflecting the coalition arrangements, resulted in a collective decision-making process.

Spending

The Report examines some of the key spending decisions. It concludes that although ring-fencing might fulfil electoral promises, it could also lead to allocative problems across government as a whole, and reduce scrutiny of the efficiency of ring-fenced departments. The Committee notes that the decision to use the NHS budget for social care and the DfID budget to support fragile and conflict affected states suggested that ring-fencing had not been absolute.

Andrew Tyrie said:

“There has been a great deal of ring-fencing in the current spending review. The risk is that ring-fencing distorts spending priorities, particularly in a radical review such as this. I note signs that the Government has considered how the budget in ring-fenced departments can be used to support wider objectives.”

Defence

The Report examines the allocation of the defence budget at some length. The Committee was particularly concerned by the aircraft carrier contract with BAE, both in itself and, as a symptom of wider difficulties in controlling the defence budget. Over the course of the inquiry, the Committee elicited new information about the contract, and the Report notes that in response to a question from the Chairman of the Committee the Prime Minister has agreed to provide the Committee with the maximum amount of information possible.

Andrew Tyrie said:

“Successive governments have struggled to deal with an overcommitted defence budget. The Treasury should draw on the lessons from the seemingly ‘unbreakable’ carrier contract to analyse all future Ministry of Defence procurement to ensure that value for money is being obtained, particularly when little competition exists in the market.”

Distributional analysis

The Committee welcomes the Treasury’s willingness to increase its distributional analysis, as previously recommended in the Committee's report on the June budget. Today’s Report analyses the differences between the Treasury work and that done by the IFS, and calls on the Treasury to consider whether it can adopt some of the IFS’s proposals. It also recommends that the calculation underpinning the analysis should be published, to provide transparency and encourage debate.

Andrew Tyrie noted:

“Analysis like this had previously been prepared for Ministers, but not made public. The Treasury has now provided more information than ever before. We welcome this openness, and see scope for its further extension.”

“Progressive” and “fair”

The Report notes the difference between "progressive", a technical economic term, and "fair".

Andrew Tyrie said:

“It would have been extremely difficult for the overall consolidation to have been progressive. Fairness and progressivity are two different things. Decisions that are technically regressive are not necessarily unfair. Whether or not the consolidation is fair is, and will remain, the subject of political debate and the Treasury Committee will continue to take evidence on it.”

 

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-sele...<

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kevin
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On Tuesday 14 December 2010 at 00.01 hrs GMT the Health Committee will publish its second report of Session 2010–11, Public Expenditure (HC 512).

This report addresses implications for health and social care services arising from the Spending Review.

Electronic embargoed copies of the Report will be released to witnesses via Committee staff at 10.00 am on Monday 13 December. Members of the media will receive copies via the Media Officer.

The Report will be available on the Committee’s website (www.parliament.uk/healthcom) on the day of publication.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-sele...

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kevin
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Government spending plans will test the NHS and social services in England to the limit, according to a report by the Commons Health Select Committee.

The MPs say the plans assume efficiency savings on a scale never before seen in the NHS, or in other countries.

Steven Dorrell, who chairs the committee, said the NHS had to save 4% a year for four years - a "huge ask".

But Liberal Democrat Health Minister Paul Burstow said NHS staff were already making savings.

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson has estimated the health service needs to make efficiency savings worth between £15bn and £20bn over the next four years.

Mr Dorrell, a former Conservative health secretary, said: "There is no precedent for efficiency gains on this scale in the history of the NHS, nor has any precedent yet been found of any healthcare system anywhere in the world doing anything similar."

Mr Dorrell told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "What's clear is that the health service... has to deliver a 4% efficiency gain four years running if it is to meet rising demand for healthcare. That's a huge ask."

He said that in real terms, the NHS budget was being broadly maintained, but: "We're having to find ways of doing more with the same amount of money."

The NHS could only do that if equivalent gains were made in social services departments, he said - otherwise vulnerable people may find themselves falling back on the health service unnecessarily.

He said the committee had asked many experts about the challenge of making savings while maintaining standards.

"Nobody has told us it's impossible. Everybody has said it is extremely challenging," he said.

To read more http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11984036<

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The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published its formal assessment of the Government’s 2010 Spending Review in May 2012.

The Commission’s report considers the extent to which the decision-making by ministers and Treasury officials met legal obligations to consider the impact on equality when completing the Review. It is the first time an assessment of this kind and scale has been undertaken.

It finds that in six cases the Treasury acted in accordance with the requirements under the equality duties. However, in three cases, the Commission says that it was unable to establish whether or not the decisions were in full accord with the requirements of the duty.

The Commission’s report calls for:

  • Greater transparency in future reviews
  • The development of a common model of analysis to predict the likely equality effects of policy
  • Earlier use of the equality duties to ensure better targeting of funds and greater value for money

Click here< for details

http://www.edf.org.uk/blog/?p=18443<

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