Andy Street, the Conservatives’ candidate to become West Midlands mayor, has been questioned about the amount of money he has spent on campaigning. There is a strict spending limit of about £130,000 during the final five weeks leading up to the 4 May election, but ahead of that there is no limit imposed. Mr Street has been accused of spending up to £1m on campaigning, a figure which he denies, although he admitted he had "spent a substantial amount more than my opponents". The former John Lewis boss defended his spending as "absolutely appropriate", adding that the election was "a new start in democracy" for the region. While not criticising Mr Street for having acted within the rules, other mayoral candidates have called for spending restrictions to be tightened in order to ensure a level playing field.
Is leaving the EU a threat to staffing the NHS or conservative government pay policies?
A Health Foundation report has calculated that a Government-imposed wage restraint on NHS staff means the 625,000 workers who earn at least £22,000 will have effectively suffered a 12% pay cut between 2010-11 and 2020-21. The real-terms drop in pay will affect all 315,000 nurses, and members of the profession are already being polled by the Royal College of Nursing about possible strike action. The Health Foundation also predicts a shortfall of 42,000 nurses in England by 2020, and almost half of all nurses believe that current staffing levels are dangerously stretched. Ultimately, the thinktank believes NHS pay caps are no longer sustainable Road Usage.