Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Public services could be pushed to breaking point

The Institute for Government has published a report on the performance of public services in the period of austerity since 2010: Performance tracker

The report finds that the 2010 spending review was largely successful in terms of its objectives. My interpretation would be that there were efficiency gains to be made in public services which did not substantially affect their quality.

However, it is a different story since 2015. Performance is being adversely affected and some services could be pushed to breaking point. In the case of prisons, they are already beyond that point.

The report warns, 'In the upcoming Budget, the Chancellor cannot simply choose to ‘tough it out’, eschewing any reference to how the Government will deal with the mounting pressures in public services, as he did in the 2016 Autumn Statement, when his only announcement was emergency funding for prisons. The Government risks being bounced from crisis to crisis, unable to get a grip on the situation. Without action, within the next two years it could face a disastrous combination of failing public services and breached spending controls against a background of deeply contentious Brexit negotiations.'

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