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How Would Johnson Govern?

Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson are the final two contenders in the Conservative leadership election. While some still remain sceptical that Johnson can survive a campaign without making significant mistakes, it is overwhelmingly likely that he will become Prime Minister next month. When it comes to domestic policy, a Johnson government would look very different from Theresa May’s. The former Foreign Secretary’s instinct, unlike May’s, would not be to control the output of his Ministers; he is more likely to follow David Cameron and adopt a hands-off approach to engaging with his cabinet. While the Treasury would remain a key department as Johnson would be likely to focus much of his energy on large infrastructure projects – one of the reasons he could pick Sajid Javid, known to be sympathetic to this, as his Chancellor – others will likely be given much greater freedom over policy development than they have had over the last three years, making it easier for stakeholders to engage and influence the process.

ONS finds mixed fortunes for public sector staff retention

A new analysis published by the Office for National Statistics shows that a number of public sector occupations – including nursing, social work and teaching – have a higher rate of staff retention than the average for the UK workforce as a whole. The Annual Population Survey from the ONS found that nursing had a retention rate for 2016/17 of 92%, second only to the police. However, there has also been a decline in retention rates across the public sector between 2012/13 and 2016/17, with notable falls in social work and public sector care work. As government departments – particularly the Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Education – think proactively about retention as part of the recent NHS People Plan and Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy respectively, these findings will inform the development of policy in this area.

Warnings of ‘risk’ to NHS plan

Analysis published this week by the Health Foundation and NHS Confederation suggests that there is widespread concern that the Government’s £20 billion funding pledge for the health service over the next five years will be insufficient. It is not just the amount of funding that has concerned stakeholders, but the structure and timing of it. Having initially promised a front-loaded settlement, the largest share of the funding will now not be delivered until 2023/24, and the analysis warns that this, combined with longer-term uncertainty over social care funding, lack of capital investment and reductions in public health spending, could lead to continued pressure on the areas of the NHS that will not be addressed by the £20 billion. A new Chancellor and Health Secretary in a few weeks’ time might mean a new openness to discuss the future shape of health spending, but for now it seems that some in the sector have little confidence that the promised uplift in funding will alleviate the pressure on providers.

Jamie Cater, the brains behind a lot of GK’s thinking, leads our policy work across the entire business but with a specialism in providing strategic advice to investors during M&A activity.