Industrial strategy will help local government

By Michael Burton | 02 August 2016
  • Michael Burton

Reducing inequality, boosting incomes and helping the poor is back in fashion under this supposedly One Nation government which also believes the fruits of globalism should be more widespread than just the Northern Powerhouse. Two reports this week however confirm the scale of this challenge. Each come to the same conclusion, though from opposite perspectives, namely that poverty costs local government and ultimately the taxpayer shedloads of money. For the Joseph Rowntree Foundation this means incomes must be boosted so poverty is cut.

For the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), it is the welfare bill that must be slashed. 

Rowntree’s report argues that even excluding benefits, poverty costs taxpayers £78bn a year, mainly from extra demands on healthcare and public health, children’s and adult social services, social housing, education and criminal justice. The figure, at 4% of GDP, is about the same as the deficit. There is nothing new in this conclusion except the figure; Total Place and community budgets were designed precisely to tackle what used to be called in the 1980s ‘the wicked issues’ and they still haven’t worked.

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