The article reflects a long term stasis in all forms of government in terms of investment.
This strikes me as being a very British disease. We have under invested in infrastructure for decades and whilst this particular Government has grasped the relationship between infrastructure and growth, most of that investment has gone to london and the south- east and whilst that gives a quick return on that investment, the underinvestment in the rest of the country is a major impediment to growth.
No Government has ever gripped the need to invest in health prevention in a way that prevents hospitals admission. Whilst we have investing in anti- smoking campaigns, I think taxing it out of existence has had a big impact. We haven't achieved much with obesity and hospitals are jammed not only with old people that preventative social care should keep at home but also people with type 2 diabetes whose health conditions could be prevented with upfront investment.
Local Government, faced with austerity has also cut preventative investments in a range of services from sure start to youth clubs and most clearly in adult social care.
If we look at those counties admired for their social equality and good health such as Finland and Denmark, we should ask ourselves why. It’s not just high taxes, it’s spending the money in the right areas as part of a long term plans. Local government is at the heart of this but at the moment it feels like it’s draining away as councils move into firefighting mode. The consequences will be felt for a generation.
High social worker caseloads are often like the overcome canary in the mine: an indicator of something being wrong with a council’s support for vulnerable children and families. While one cannot automatically equate higher caseloads on an individual council with a worsening of its social work – social workers can take on more cases if supported by greater investment in back office staff – it is hard to believe a dramatically worsening national picture indicates anything other than a sector reeling from austerity