Social Policy and Reform in the UK
The 2008 financial crisis has shown that the existing economic model in the UK is unsustainable but it has also shown a dangerously high public spending deficit. Further shocks to the UK economy in 2010 and 2011 combined with the euro area debt crisis further exposed vulnerability of the UK economy and the need for social reform because economic growth and prosperity can be achieved only in combination with balanced and sustainable public finances.
Helping Troubled Families
According to the Government’s data, more than 100,000 UK families are troubled by multiple problems. Children from these families have been shown to have serious difficulties developing their full potential and to put an increased pressure on social services. The UK Government estimates that about £9 billion is spent per year on these families with large part of the money being used for children care. But a great deal of money is also spent to cover legal costs as children and adults from troubled families are more likely to get involved in criminal activities. The Government cannot let these families down but instead of reacting to their troubles, it has decided to increase the funding of preventive programmes and projects in order to prevent them from coming into troubles in the first place.
Government’s Action on Social Issues
In the National Social Report 2012 which replaced the prior National Strategy Reports on Social Protection and Social Inclusion, the UK Government set its priorities as followed:
- Supporting families with a focus on troubled families as discussed above.
- Supporting children and young people from disadvantaged families. Children and young people whose families aren’t able to provide them a safe environment must receive support through social services in order to build a better future.
- Tackling unemployment. According to the National Social Report 2012, there are nearly 4 million households where no one is working. This is partly due to the economic downturn after 2008 but as the Report notes, it isn’t just due to weaker economy because the number of workless households nearly doubled since the mid-1990s.
- Supporting disadvantaged adults and helping low income families in housing by using approved sell house fast companies who can offer quick sales solutions.
- Ensuring sustainable pensions. Just like the rest of Europe, the UK is faced with an ageing society. As a result, the Government is working extensively on securing a sustainable pension system in the long term also through increasing the pension age and encouraging private pension saving.
- Ensuring access to quality healthcare and long term care.