Thursday, 20 January 2011

Early Intervention: The Next Steps

Yesterday morning I posted on the report by Graham Allen MP on early years intervention. It is clear that a cross party agreement is being reached as to how to take these matters forward. Iain Duncan Smith collaborated with Graham Allen in a publication last year which covered much of the same ground. Yesterday Nick Clegg spoke at the launch of the report:
It is absolutely clear, as the report confirms, that investment in the early years of life leads to huge economic, social and emotional benefits later on, both for individuals and for society as a whole. The report helpfully highlights the importance of what it calls ‘school-readiness’. The gaps that exists today in ‘school readiness’ mean that by the time they hang up their coats for their first day at school, children from different backgrounds are already on different tracks, already pointed to very different futures.

A full copy of the report can be download here

A second report is due out in the 'mid summer' and the Deputy Prime Minister previewed part of the territory that it will cover:

We know that intervening with families with multiple problems is expensive –  in some cases, up to as much as £20,000 a year. But we also know that over the long term, the savings generated can be far greater. If we can help youngsters stay out of care, and out of trouble, and out of jail, the social and economic benefits are huge. The long-term savings from helping the families with the deepest problems far outweigh the upfront cost.

The challenge is to find creative ways to bridge the gap between the initial investment and the long-term returns. But right here, in the City of London, we have one of the most innovative financial services centres in the world. Social investment is an area where the expertise of the financial services industry could be usefully deployed.

The Coalition Government has said clearly that we need a new social contract between the financial services industry and broader society. Financial services do not exist in a social vacuum, indeed no single commercial sector can operate in isolation from the values of wider society. The financial institutions of the City have an important role to play, not only in rebalancing the economy, but also in rebalancing society in a fairer direction.

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