Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The elephant in the public spending room

I have no doubt that the public will respond magnificently to Osborne's call to nominate government spending for the chop, and that high on the list will be everything we loathe about Labour's Big State. So all the prodnose non-jobs created to persuade us to eat less meat, drink less booze and walk more will go, as will all the Council propaganda rags, the social engineering quangos, the fake charities and all the detritus of interference and petty enforcement.

However, I comfortably predict that there will one area that will figure on no-one's list. My local council spends £45m a year on it; If one assumes that very roughly another 300 local authorities do the same, the annual bill comes to £13.5bn. It dwarves the cost of refuse collection, street sweeping, road repairs and lighting and parks maintenance together. It is, of course, the bill for children's social care - national conscience-money that allows us to feel complacent when a Baby P tragedy happens. It pays for children to be kept in care or fostered and for all the monitoring and social work that goes with the 'at risk' registers. And of course no local politician would dare cut this budget, no government would dare to force cuts through.

On top of this, my local council spends over £16m a year on 'Adults with Learning Disabilities'. I had thought this referred to Mongols, but a figure of 1 in 1,000 live births would give us fewer than 250 Mongols in the borough - does their care really cost us £64,000 a year each? Perhaps it does. Again, across the country this would come to something like £4.8bn annually

Adult social services for the elderly and those in hospital costs a further £25m a year with a further £5m for supported housing and care. That's another £9bn a year.

And these costs are the elephant in the public spending room. They are the costs of an atomised society, one in which the role of family, neighbourhood, community and intermediate institutions has been degraded and destroyed by the Leviathan State. Even a 10% cut across these areas would yield nearly £3bn annually, but it just won't happen, unless real power and real budgets are devolved down to their lowest level.

And a good chunk of this is also down to the 'Mail' and the very Redtops who now scream so shrilly for cuts; it was they that invented and encouraged the Paedo menace, aided and abetted by deeply stupid harridans such as Harman and her ilk who were happy to condemn all men as potential child abusers and require childrens' authors to be police vetted before speaking to their readers.

We reap as we sow, and unless we start to reverse these damaging social changes, we'll be stuck with an ever-growing bill and an ever more fragmented nation.


Young Mr. Brown said...

And a good chunk of this is also down to the 'Mail' and the very Redtops who now scream so shrilly for cuts; it was they that invented and encouraged the Paedo menace.

It is also they who make a lot of noise every time a child dies due to neglect or abuse, and who blame social services, and thereby encourage even more intrusive activity by the state.

Nick Drew said...

'Adults with Learning Disabilities'

it may indeed cost that much per person, R

for various reasons I spend time in Adult Education centres around the country, they go by lots of different names but as well as discharging their traditional functions of evening classes for self-improvement or pleasure, these days they have a lot more on their plates, including

(1) teaching the things that schools no longer seem to manage, like reading, basic maths and other vital stuff ("Hotel Reception Skills - 10 Weeks")

(2) just as with schools, attempting to manage the various social engineering objectives that have been foisted on them (which is half the reason for (1) above)

(3) providing non-jobs for Learning-Disability folk - which is where you see how the costs mount up

they typically get a "personal key worker" - each - who tags around after them, All Day

so, for example, the 'client' may be given the task of collecting paper for re-cycling: but the PKW is needed to lead them from room to room, opening doors for them, reminding them where the bins are & where to take the paper

basic humanity suggests that we have to do something more than merely dope them up and leave them sitting in a corner ... but it don't half come expensive

Raedwald said...

Nick -

I remember back in the '70s the care of such folk devolved entirely on their parents, with no help available, and no official funding. I was volunteering at working with young offenders - building Mirror dinghies with them, cramming three of them in and giving them a shove into the Orwell. With a bit of tuition. Our guv'nor unofficially agreed to provide 'respite care' for a pair of doting parents utterly exhausted by their offspring, so on boat building nights we also looked after a Mongol lad.

Four or five hours with him were really hard work, and I'm ashamed to say I always looked forward to the moment when his dad turned up to collect him and we could get off to the pub.

No, we can't drug these folk up and leave them in a corner - but if we learned to share the task of looking after them a bit, if it became a village thing, the benefits and rewards for all involved would be far greater than financial.