What's fresh

Public Sector Review: 3rd September 2010

 

Education
Independent - Now just one man aged under 25 works in a state nursery school

Figures published this week by the General Teaching Council have revealed there is only one young (under 25) man left working with under –fives in a state-run nursery school in the country. This has sparked fear that generation of boys will have no male role model and also highlighted the dearth of male role models for primary school pupils of any age. A total of 28 per cent of the country’s primary schools – teaching around 950,000 pupils – now have no male teachers.

Treasury
Financial Times - Statisticians oppose CPI ‘star billing’ on benefit setting

Leading UK statisticians are questioning the measure of inflation that the government plans to use to calculate key benefits and the state pension. The coalition announced plans in the June Budget to raise some benefits – including the main out-of-work benefit and the old age pension – in line with the consumer price index from next April, rather than other measures of inflation that tend to rise more quickly. The decision will save £5.8bn a year by 2014-15 from lower payments and will help the chancellor towards his goal of cutting £40bn from public spending.

Politics
Times – Labour was ‘hammered’ says Blair

Tony Blair has blamed Gordon Brown for Labour’s election loss, saying that his decision to abandon New Labour dealt the party a fatal blow.  Writing in memoirs published this week, the former Prime Minister comments that Brown, whom he calls ‘maddening’, made errors in increasing direct taxation and failing to address the budget deficit.  Blair warns the party against moving further to the Left – likely to be taken as a criticism of leadership contender Ed Miliband.

Financial Times – Blair admits horror of Iraq but no regrets
Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, says that he “can’t regret” the decision to back the war in Iraq but, in his long-awaited memoirs, he admits that he failed to imagine the horror that would follow the invasion in 2003. Mr Blair’s account of his decade as British premier, A Journey, to be published on Wednesday, includes a long defence of his motives but does not include an apology, an omission that will enrage many UK critics. “I can’t say sorry in words; I can only hope to redeem something from the tragedy of death, in the actions of a life, my life, that continues still,” he says.

Times – Hague denies relationship with adviser
Foreign Secretary Wiliam Hague has denied having an inappropriate relationship with a 25-year old adviser in his employment at the FCO. Mr Hague’s office put out the statement following online rumours that he had shared a room with the aide. The statement said: ‘Any suggestion that the Foreign Secretary’s relationship with Chris Myers is anything other than a purely professional one is wholly inaccurate and unfounded’.

Guardian  - William Hague furore raises questions over special advisers
The coalition has appointed a string of party employees to civil service roles – including one aide to the foreign secretary, William Hague – in a move that has raised concerns among senior Whitehall figures, the Guardian has learned. Hague today said he felt forced to give yesterday’s unprecedented personal statement about his marriage to “put the record straight” after intense speculation about his relationship with a special adviser in a row that has cast light on the propriety of political appointments.

Home Affairs
Financial Times - Doubts over ‘libel tourism’ fuel debate

Rich foreigners exploit England’s claimant-friendly libel rules less often than is widely thought, according to research published on Wednesday, adding to the debate over defamation law reforms promised by the government. So-called “libel tourism” cases – in which the offending article or broadcast is barely viewed in the UK – accounted for just three of the 83 defamation lawsuits reported last year, says Sweet & Maxwell, the legal information company.

And Finally
Times – Girls think they’re cleverer than boys

Girls as young as four think they are more clever than boys, research by the University of Kent has shown.  From the first year of primary school, girls believe they are more intelligent, hard-working and better behaved than their male peers. Interestingly, boys appear to accept this belief from the age of eight, viewing themselves as less able at schoolwork, naughtier and less able to focus.