Start of the year – and the first snippets of evidence for rising localism. Westminster wants to link benefit payments to healthy lifestyles. Nanny-ish for sure, especially for a Tory borough, and easy to think of the logistical difficulties. But this is only on the agenda in the first place because local authorities are about to take over responsibility for community wellbeing and health, so suddenly have reason to think about costs and benefits together; about the cost savings that would come from a healthier population, and about the most cost-effective ways of achieving that. These initiatives and responsibilities haven’t been linked or aligned in the NHS, where the capture by Big Pharma seems almost complete.
… whilst Birmingham is being lined up as a test bed for Heseltine’s devolution plans. following talks in early January about how the city-region (note) could take on a big increase in powers and funding from Westminster. Overall Heseltine wants to transfer £58bn from Whitehall into ‘local’ hands. A three month project underway – so report due in early April?