“Public services in perpetual state of decline since 2010”

1st November 2023 / United Kingdom
"Public services in perpetual state of decline since 2010"

By TruePublica Editor: “Public services in ‘perpetual state of decline since 2010.” That is the headline from yesterday’s Times newspaper.

It confirms what the dire state of the country really is in. It is further proof of ‘Broken Britain.’ It is also further proof of the scale of damage the Tories have actually managed to achieve since 2010.

The Times article kicks off with the statement that – public services are crumbling and risk getting stuck in a perpetual state of crisis. The Institute for Government (IfG) is the organisation being quoted.

In its annual report on the state of public services, the Institute said they were all performing worse than before the pandemic and … much worse than when the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

With large-scale funding cuts and a lack of capital investment, along with the disruption caused by strikes – all have contributed to this never-ending decline, the IfG said. Its report also stated that the government’s refusal to negotiate on public sector pay for months on end had extended the duration of strikes and brought yet more disruption and decline.

The IfG is an independent think tank. It went on to say that present spending plans, which Labour has said it will stick to if it wins the next election, meant some services were more than likely to continue to deteriorate and decline.

The wide-ranging report looked at a number of areas. One was the crown court backlog. It reached a record 64,709 last June, but it also noted that the greater complexity of the cases meant the “effective backlog” was actually about 89,937 cases.

It also predicted that children’s social care will continue to decline to 2027-28 and will be worse than it was than on the eve of the pandemic.

Then there’s the NHS waiting list.  Hospital elective waiting list have now risen to 7.8 million, compared with 4.6 million before the pandemic, while only just over half of those attending A&E are admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, the report said.

Adult social care was another case. It, like so many other services, has seen any additional funding, what there was of it, eaten up by higher costs, which the IfG said meant there had been “little progress in reducing unmet and under-met need”.

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The report was more extensive than being reported here but the IfG said:

In the absence of serious action to improve public service productivity, the government risks getting stuck in a ‘doom loop’, with the perpetual state of crisis burning out staff and preventing services from taking the best long-term decisions. Escaping this will not be easy and whoever forms the next government will be hindered by the short-sighted decisions of its predecessors.


Just as importantly, the report also said that there was “no meaningful fat to trim” after years of austerity and expected further cuts in the pipeline would damage service performance even more.

Quoting the former cabinet secretary Lord O’Donnell, the report concluded that spending plans were “unsustainable” and the next government would “likely face huge public and political pressure to provide public services with more generous funding settlements”.

IfG programme director Nick Davies – the report’s author, said: “Public services are in a dire state and will likely deteriorate further if whoever forms the next government sticks to current spending plans. Improvements are possible, but difficult decisions will be necessary to break out of the negative cycle of short-termism that has characterised government decision-making, particularly in recent years.”

In essence, George Osborne decided on a class war policy of austerity that serious economists agreed was a total failure. The result is that we have increasingly lived in a society where the population has been left to fend for itself – which is fine if you are in the category of those who can afford it. Sadly, about half of the UK’s population is not in that category.

And it was hardly surprising that a policy such as this was destined to fail. Little known to the public was that – the paper Osborne had cited in his call for cuts to public spending was later found to contain critical errors. As was reported in independent media last April – “When the errors in their paper were corrected, the purported link between government debt and growth levels disappeared. In fact, there appeared to be a positive link between levels of government debt and growth. An entire thesis (by George Osborne) was built on sand.”

Of course, it goes without saying that any argument that high public debt had caused the financial crisis was, of course, total nonsense. It was the escalating debt accumulating in the private sector, not just in the banks but consumer markets, that was the main driver behind the financial crash.





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