40 per cent of public spending is ''wasted''
28 November 2012
Around 40 per cent of public spending is wasted on picking up the pieces of failed social policies, a group of charity and public sector figures has said, claiming that if action had been taken earlier the money could have been saved.
The Early Action Task Force has recommended that 10-year plans be built into spending reviews and efforts made to encourage early action on social and environmental problems. And it said that studies had shown the proportion spent on acute action rises to 96 per cent in health, and 75 per cent in children's social care. For example diabetes costs the UK £23bn a year, with 80 per cent of NHS spending on the disease going to treat complications which could have been prevented.
The body's chair David Robinson said: "Too often we're preoccupied running ambulances at the bottom of the cliff when we could be building fences at the top. Across public policy and beyond we respond to need rather than trying to prevent it, but we can no longer afford to spend a fortune managing health and social problems like illiteracy, crime, or obesity."
He added: "These trajectories are unsustainable but they are not inevitable. We need a different kind of society – one that values sustainable solutions above short-term crisis management, one that looks ahead."
Dame Clare Tickell, chief executive of Action for Children, added: "Far too often, we see children and families facing severe and complex issues which could have been prevented if the right support had been in place for them at an earlier stage. It is crucial that we shift from a system of crisis management to crisis prevention by developing long-term strategies and investing in the kinds of early intervention services that help prevent problems from spiralling out of control."