The subject under discussion is Public Services: Health and Social Care; Education
The idea that every child, in every part of the country, should have a fair chance…is not only the most important thing we can do to unleash the UK’s potential, but is at the heart of creating a fair and just society.
(2019 Conservative & Unionist Party Manifesto, p.13)
Delivering on our manifesto promise for a long-term NHS plan, the Government began the year by enshrining in law the largest cash settlement in NHS history, placing a legal duty on the Government to guarantee a minimum level of spending every year.
In the spring, the CPF held its consultation on the government’s response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. From the first of our weekly reports, CPF groups were clear in warning of “the damaging impact that the current restrictions are having on many areas of our national life—from individuals’ physical and mental health to the education of school children and university students.”
Several months on, the early indicators have become clearer. A government report in July concluded that “the health impacts from a lockdown and lockdown induced recession are greater…than the direct COVID-19 deaths.” It cautioned, “Much of the health impact, particularly in terms of morbidity, will be felt long after the pandemic is assumed to last. … The main morbidity impacts of the lockdown are expected to come from an estimated increase in musculoskeletal conditions, increased domestic abuse, and increased mental health problems.”
Another government report expressed concern in September over the “disproportionate impact of some of the measures taken to stop the spread of the disease” on, among other areas, children’s education, particularly those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). According to education charities, this is expected to have “substantial negative labour market impacts for those from less-well off groups, their chances of social mobility, and on the economy in general.”
All of this reinforces why we pledged in our manifesto to use part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to “give disadvantaged people the skills they need to make a success of life.”
Downloadable briefing papers are available from the links below.
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