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  • Author or Editor: Polina Obolenskaya x
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This chapter examines UK government policy towards young children in the aftermath of the 2007 financial crisis. It covers both the 2007-2010 Labour administration under Gordon Brown and the Coalition Government 2010-2015. It explores how policy decisions and spending cuts affected services for children under five during this period, and presents some preliminary outcome indicators, including measures of poverty, low birthweight and early child development. The chapter highlights a clear shift in policy direction when the Coalition Government took office, with families with young children shouldering a ‘double burden’ under austerity measures from 2010 onwards. Benefit reductions hit families with young children harder than any other group, while services for this group were heavily squeezed by cuts in local authority funding settlements. Child poverty started rising for families with a baby from 2010/11, and there were signs that previous progress in narrowing socio-economic gaps in early child health and cognitive development may have stalled.

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This chapter analyses how the pattern of total spending, including both consumer and tax-financed expenditure, has evolved since 1979. Using the three dimensions of public and private finance, provision and decision, and looking across and within the areas of education, health, personal care, income maintenance and housing, it reveals that the growth in consumer spending has outstripped the growth in public spending, and that there has been an on-going shift within publicly-financed services from the “pure public” (publicly provided and centrally decided) towards more varied forms, including contracted out services, and voucher-type schemes. The analysis suggests that the period of the Coalition government did not mark a step change, although some pre-existing trends were accelerated.

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This chapter analyses spending, outputs and outcomes in relation to schools in England between 2007/8 and 2014/15. Schools were relatively protected from the public spending cuts made by the Coalition government from 2010 onwards, while rapid and extensive reforms were made in almost every aspect of policy. Moves towards a broader vision of schooling under the Labour government from 2007 to 2010 were rapidly overturned by the Coalition, which introduced an increasingly ‘rigorous’ academic curriculum and assessment regime. Major steps were made towards school an autonomous school system, with 61% of secondary schools becoming Academies. Teacher training was radically reformed. Early indications suggest that there are substantial challenges in managing the new system and that despite efforts to support disadvantaged students through a new ‘Pupil Premium’, socio-economic inequalities remain wide and may be even be exacerbated by some of the Coalitions other reforms.

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This chapter examines health spending, outputs and outcomes in England in the aftermath of the 2007 financial crisis, covering the 2007-2010 Labour administration under Gordon Brown, and the Coalition Government 2010-2015. It shows that despite the relative protection of the health budget compared to other expenditure areas during the Coalition’s period in power, the growth of real resources in health was exceptionally low compared to historical trends, and lagged behind rates that are widely deemed necessary to maintain and extend NHS care in response to increasing need and demand. The Coalition embarked on major organisational changes and whilst early data suggests increases in productivity, signs of pressure on the healthcare system were mounting by May 2015. There were adverse trends in suicide and mental health in the period following the crisis and downturn, and health inequalities remained stark. With the resources squeeze projected to continue into the upcoming period, the chapter concludes that there are major financing, policy and political challenges ahead.

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This chapter analyses spending, outputs and outcomes in relation to social care for disabled and older people in England, focusing in particular on the period from 2007/8 to 2014/15. It shows how significant cuts to local authority budgets during a period of rising demographic demand have produced substantial reductions in the number of people receiving support - down by 30% to 40% for many client groups – reversing the gains made in the first half of the 2000s. It notes emerging evidence of increased pressure on unpaid carers, and ongoing concerns about the quality of some residential and community care provision. The chapter concludes that substantial re-investment in social care will be required to safeguard the well-being of older and disabled people in the future

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This chapter looks in detail at what happened after the crisis to the employment, earnings, incomes and wealth of groups of the population divided in different ways. It looks at how fortunes have varied by gender, age, ethnicity, housing tenure, region and disability status. The legacy of the crisis did not fall evenly. Gender gaps in pay remained wide, but women’s incomes tended to be more protected than men, because they were more likely to be receiving benefits or pensions. Divides by housing tenure remained and if anything widened, especially in incomes after allowing for housing costs. The experiences of different regions also differed sharply, particularly between London and the rest of the country, while inequalities within London are far greater than in any other region. The clearest change over the period was the deteriorating position of young adults, and in the growing economic gradients between younger and older people

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This chapter examines inequalities in economic and social outcomes between English regions, and between richer and poorer neighbourhoods, in the period following the financial crisis. It also looks at the policies of Labour and Coalition governments towards spatial inequalities. It finds that despite the finance-led recession, London continued to pull further ahead of other regions economically, and on some social indicators including education and some health outcomes. A new political consensus appeared to emerge around the need for regional economic rebalancing and a new debate about what form a new ‘regional policy’ should take. However, at the same time, there was less focus on the problems of disadvantaged neighbourhoods and the arguments for spatially redistributive social policies for reasons of equity and social justice. In some respects, the distribution of spending also became more disconnected from levels of need in local areas, a move that may lead to greater spatial disparities in the short term

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