CBI in call over future spending

Published: Thursday 30th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Rules stopping governments spending more than they earn on public services must be introduced once the deficit is wiped out, business leaders have recommended.

Bold reforms of the state sector must also be carried out to keep costs down without causing “inevitable decline through a thousand cuts”, the CBI said.

It calls for a major shift to provision of services online, including web consultations between patients and GPs, an e-prescriptions system for smart phones and all government forms being made available on the internet.

Combining health and social care budgets and commissioning systems would save money and improve outcomes for patients as care moved away from hospitals to homes, according to the report: Our future public services: a challenge for us all.

The CBI also pointed to University of Aberdeen research that showed treating minor ailments such as coughs and colds at pharmacies could save the NHS more than £1 billion a year.

Welfare spending must be brought down through policies to tackle the underlying problems faced by claimants, including support to get into work, the report said.

Combining the p ublic sector reforms with a sustainable fiscal rule stopping governments spending more than they raise and holding public spending at 38% of Gross Domestic Product would help the UK live within its means, the CBI said.

Deputy director-general Katja Hall said: “All parties must recognise that serious structural changes are required to prevent public services suffering inevitable decline through a thousand cuts. Tinkering around the edges of public service reform will not meet the challenges we face.

“It will take bold decisions like integrating health and social care to help address the pressures that an ageing population places on our public services, especially the NHS.

“Managing public spending within acceptable limits will demand re-shaping of public services to better meet people’s needs, including increasing the number of services available online.”

“We want to see reform underpinned by a new fiscal rule ensuring that public spending never outstrips revenue receipts once the deficit is eliminated in 2018/19.

“And a cross-party commission, with citizen representation, should be set up to answer tough questions about how we overhaul our public services for the 21st century and beyond.”

Chancellor George Osborne said: “I welcome this powerful analysis from the CBI which shows that high quality public services in the next Parliament will depend on a strong economy, a budget surplus and ongoing reform.

“That is what our long term economic plan will deliver. Those who oppose that plan would put our economy and our public services at risk.”

Published: Thursday 30th October 2014 by The News Editor

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