1. No surprises on funding; either that the protected real-terms funding promise was kept, or that at 0.1% annually in real terms, it was very low. Likewise, no surprise about NHS money going to social care – in fact, the NHS did well to get away with only losing £1 billion. (And I was wrong about it coming from the accumulated NHS surplus – as you’ve doubtless seen, HSJ’s Sally Gainsbury established that it will come out of NHS capital allocation).
2. The government is still in the business of setting tractor-production quotas, with its plan to “look at setting proportions of appropriate services across the public sector that should be delivered by independent providers, such as the voluntary and community sectors and social and private enterprises. This approach will be explored in adult social care, early years, community health services, pathology services". Clearly, this is in no way top-down proportion-setting of private providers of public services, in the finest Whitehall-knows-best tradition. Whatever made you think that?
3. Labour sees real political mileage in the opportunity cost of “top-down reorganisation to end all top-down reorganisations”, in Alan Johnson’s nice phrase. Shadow health supremo John Healey looked quite keen on that line of attack.
4. New things are announced that are not new, in the guise of the “new rights for communities to run services, own assets and for public service workers to form cooperatives”. Round objects alert.
5. Strong hints about privatisation arrive, with the aim "to bring external investment and expertise into the public sector and share the responsibility and risks of reform, the Government will work with the financial sector, the voluntary sector and community groups to develop innovative equity investment opportunities in public services". PFI? We ain’t seen nothing yet, I suspect.