Poor social housing in the UK

How to save billions in public money

A new report has outlined how billions of pounds can be saved by effectively joining up public services. 

The report, titled Wall to Wall Support and published by cross-party think tank Demos, has found that taking a holistic approach to services for vulnerable children, young people and families has the potential to save the public purse up to £4.3 billion a year. This is down to the fact that the people who need the most support for things such as housing, health, and employment are being let down due to the way that public services are siloed. Using the current approach, issues are not being dealt with early enough and end up reaching a crisis point, which then leads to the challenges becoming more expensive to resolve. 

Using interviews with 20 participants that have lived-in experience of these issues, the report was able to identify that the rising demand for public services – something that councils around the country are increasingly struggling with – is stemming from poor housing conditions, as this contributed to challenges faced by vulnerable children, young people and families. 

Senior Researcher at Demos and co-author of the report, Andrew Philips, said: 

“For vulnerable children, young people and families, a lack of joined-up services has profoundly damaging consequences. Not only does it harm children’s attainment at school, but it also results in worse physical and mental health and a higher chance of children being taken into care, to say nothing of the myriad longer-term costs pertaining to negative consequences such as unemployment and homelessness. 

“The problems that people face are simply too broad and complex to be tackled in silos, yet that is how both central government and local authorities often function. It’s also too difficult for people to access support when they need it, because resources are being used up at the ‘crisis end’ of services. We need a radical new approach, centred around prevention, which provides holistic and joined-up support to address the complexities and nuances of people’s lives.” 

In order to solve the issues that are continuing to rise within public services, the report has made a number of recommendations, with the pivotal one being for local authorities to join up their support services. This can be done by employing dedicated key workers that can consider and address challenges revolving around the following issues: 

  • Housing 

  • Employment 

  • Education 

  • Health 

  • Social Care 

Further recommendations from the report include making the housing that is available to families on low incomes more affordable, better quality, and greater in number. This would improve the stability of life for these families, further reducing the demand for support services. 


Image credit: iStock 

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