Monday, 9 August 2010

Independent Budget Review

Of course, it is very unlikely that you missed the publication of the IBR but if you did the following will bring you up to speed.

The panel provided a number of recommendations that include:

Recommendations include:

- subjecting all services to scrutiny and comparative prioritisation, without an overridingpresumption of protection for any of the major services;
• discontinuing the current council tax freeze, which does not appear sustainable in the projected economic environment;
• ensuring that future annual efficiency targets across the public sector are no less than 2 per cent per annum;
• further reducing the number of public bodies;
• applying a two-year pay freeze, from 2011-12, as the first essential step to constrain growth in the public sector pay bill;
• immediately implementing a recruitment freeze across the public sector, with exceptions only granted for essential staff posts;
• managing a fall in public sector employment of between approximately 5.7 per cent and 10 per cent by 2014-15, as far as possible through natural wastage;
• reviewing the NHS Distinction Awards scheme, as part of the Fair Pay Review;
• engaging with the Independent Public Services Pension Commission to review public
sector pensions, recognising that changes to current public sector pension arrangements are essential and almost certainly unavoidable;
• undertaking immediate work to review whether all free or subsidised universal services should be retained in their current form, including reviewing eligibility criteria for concessionary travel and free NHS eye examinations, reviewing future arrangements for free personal and nursing care and considering the suspension of the final stage in the planned reduction in prescription charges;
• whether to maintain the current funding arrangements for higher education in Scotland or to implement a scheme similar to that in England, such as tuition fees, or other arrangements such as graduate contributions, taking into account the outcome of the Browne Review;
• revising and building on the role of the Scottish Futures Trust;
• exploring options for changing the status of Scottish Water, possibly to that of a public interest company, which could permit the release of significant capital to the Scottish Government for other projects; and
• developing a longer term strategic view of the future shape and nature of public services.

What do you think of the IBR?

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