The UK would save £486 billion over 20 years and dramatically improve social wellbeing by shifting investment in children and young people to a more preventative model says a new report, Backing the Future, launched today by children’s charity Action for Children and nef (the new economics foundation).
The report sets out the first ever full analysis of the economic and social cost of the UK’s failure to invest sufficiently in services that prevent social problems such as crime, mental ill health, family breakdown, drug use and obesity. These problems come with a significant price tag for the UK economy, society and individuals. Instead Backing the Future calls for a radical new approach from Government that would include investment in the future of children and young people that would reverse existing trends, change the lives of future generations and deliver significant savings to the UK economy.
Backing the Future outlines a package that combines additional investment over ten years in targeted services for vulnerable children and young people who are already beginning to experience difficulties, alongside a combination of universal childcare and paid parental leave that would lay the foundations for the long term shift towards a system based on prevention and nurture. The benefits this would bring for young people, families and communities could actually reduce the need for spending in the long-term.
This package would bring returns to the UK economy totalling £486 billion over 20 years (roughly five times the current annual budget of the whole of the NHS) - even after funding the transition from the system we have now to a more preventative and effective approach.
To achieve this, the report recommends:
- a £191 billion 10 year investment programme in targeted interventions designed to tackle problems before they become entrenched, combined with;
- a £428 billion 20-year programme of investment in universal childcare and paid parental leave.