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Social Policy in a Cold Climate

Policy, Spending and Outcomes

Tania Burchardt, John Hills, Ruth Lupton, Kitty Stewart, and Polly Vizard

Overview briefing on the Coalition's social policy record, from the launch of the concluding research from the Social Policy in a Cold Climate programme - This summarises the findings from nine papers released in January 2015.

This theme addresses the questions: How has policy changed?; what changes have occurred in the scale and profile of public spending assessed in different ways?; and what specific impacts have these policy and spending changes had?   

For a number of areas of social policy we are:

  • Reviewing policy changes and updating time series data to extend the analysis covered in our earlier survey, Towards a More Equal Society?: Poverty, inequality and policy since 1997, thus documenting the ‘policy legacy’ of the Labour government 1997-2010.
  • Reviewing policy reforms already introduced or announced by the Coalition government since May 2010, and continuing monitoring until 2014.
  • Conducting systematic analysis of public spending trends
  • Analysing the direct results of different forms of public spending, both in terms of inputs into public services (e.g. pupil-teacher ratios) and immediate indicators of outputs (such as examination results).
  • Analysing changes in the relative roles of public, private and voluntary sectors within the overall total of activity in terms of provision as well as finance.

We are adopting a standard approach to the analysis

 For the analysis of Labour's policy we looked at five broad areas:

  • Personal taxation and social security
  • Early years (including what is now called ‘the foundation years’)
  • Education
  • Health and social care
  • Neighbourhood renewal

These papers were launched on July 1st 2013 and are available here

For the Coalition we are also looking at housing, adult social care and employment. All the work on the Coalition's record will be launched in January 2015.