July 18, 2024

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Restoring UK public sector will take 2 parliamentary terms, warns think-tank

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The restoration of “broken” UK public services levels will require two terms of government, according to fresh analysis by a centre-left think-tank.

The Institute for Public Policy Research has warned in a new report that it will take nearly a decade to shrink NHS waiting lists back to 2010 levels, while the backlog in the court system is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2033.

It also said that more than a single parliamentary term would be needed for the attainment gap between wealthier and poorer secondary school pupils to return to 2017 levels.

“Many people feel public services are broken . . . We have examined how to return public services to an acceptable level — first meeting basic minimum standards and then aiming higher, because we can’t run before we can walk,” said Harry Quilter-Pinner, research director at IPPR and co-author of the report.

The government formed after the next general election, expected to take place in 2024, will inherit one of the “most challenging contexts” since the second world war, on account of a “toxic combination” of rising demand, stretched resources, “misguided” reform, the pandemic and government cuts, the think-tank said.

Its analysis chimes with the argument made by Labour that if it won the election, the party would require two terms in government to implement its plans for a “decade of national renewal” to turn around flagging public services.

The report warned that improving public services would require both additional cash and bold reforms.

It added that these could include improving the public sector by focusing on what it dubbed the “three Ps” — bolstering productivity, increasing the personalisation of services and preventing people hitting crisis-point by intervening earlier.

The analysis also highlighted the potential for new…

2023-12-29 17:02:37

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