Well, a sweeping and severe budget cut to public expenditure is one explanation of the stalling of developments; leading to the worry that we are facing the disintegration of career guidance provision in England (and we can add career education as the other significant and related casualty in this collapse). The all age service is to be called the National Careers Service and it is supposed to build on the best of both Connexions and Next Steps. But the funding does not match the rhetoric. Recent estimates suggest that the overall budget for the National Careers Service will not be taken from the merging of the career guidance element of the Connexions Budget and the Next Steps budget, just short of £300m, but may be confined to the £83m from Next Steps and the £7m from Connexions Direct. So, what will be ‘going on’ may be limited to web-based and telephone guidance. And in schools? With the transference of any funding to schools, individual guidance for young people, it seems, will rely on what schools are willing to pay for. The widespread redundancies within Connexions have, anecdotally, led to some guidance practitioners forming clusters of career guidance professionals offering services that can be bought-in by schools. On the one hand this is enterprising and self reliant – on the other it fulfils Michael Gove’s rationale that the previous partnership model is no longer required – i.e., “there you are you see this does open up a free market in guidance”! One view of the impact of the DfE’s Education Bill is that schools who can afford to pay for one-to-one career guidance will and those who can’t – won’t. There may still be some guidance for ‘intensive’ work in some schools as part of the Local Authorities’ brief. But, if the Bill goes ahead unchanged, it will be the majority - those in the middle - who will be squeezed out, receiving little more than ‘access to on-line services’. How could you deny access? It’s all a bit bonkers really - they’d be less polite on Eastenders!