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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Finding savings in public spending

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has argued that abolishing Child Trust funds would save the UK Government about £500 million a year and could be “one of the less unattractive options” when decisions about spending cuts are made.

Carl Emmerson, deputy director of the IFS, said that, with around 800,000 children born each year, abolishing the funds would make a “small but not insignificant” contribution to the £26 billion public spending cuts estimated to be needed by 2013/2014.

The Liberal Democrats have always opposed this scheme as an effective bribe that will have little impact on outcomes for children and young people. The money cannot be accessed until a child is 18 and even then it will be so small as to be virtually worthless. There is little evidence that the existence of the funds has encouraged savings by parents on behalf of their children as was originally hoped.

It is difficult to see what the point of the fund is. It is hardly an 'investment in social mobility' as the Institute of Public Policy Research argues.

Our view is that the money is better invested in early years education as the best way to make a difference to the lives of young people. Research shows that if children receive the best possible start to their informal and formal education then they are more likely to fulfil their potential in later life. That is the best way to invest in social mobility.
I have responded on my own blog.
In an over-crowded world in which people seem to think £250 is worth having, what madness it was to induce further over-breeding! Doesn't take much to make the link between this and the 'surprise' announcement that the birth rate had gone up for the first time in ages either.

Child benefit was also another colossal waste of cash - given as a pocket money supplement to rich kids, and spent on 'essentials' such as cigarettes in other families.

I was amazed to hear colleagues who, as couples, earn in excess of £50k pa talk about using their family tax credits to go on holiday with too.

Yet we can't afford to educate young people?
Personally, I'd like to see money spent on league tables for schools, so parents have an informed choice of which school they send their child too.

Unfortunately, parents can't make an informed choice on which school they send kids too, the closes thing I've seen for parents making an informed choice was in last weeks copy of the Glamorgan Gazette, Maesteg Comp. being a school with serious issues, only on Grade "A" at A Level in the whole school.....Truely shocking!!!
Anon 3:23, I don't know where to begin...

"Over-crowded world", while the GLOBAL population is spiralling bear in mind school rolls in Britain have been falling for a number of years - while you may see this as a positive as the employment market is already crowded, I'm sure you realise that less people = less output, less spending and less economic growth.

I agree giving child benefit to rich families is a bit of a waste of time (20 pounds a week to many families is next to nothing) but your assertion that "other" families will just spend it on cigarettes betrays an awful prejudice in regards to class and income.

I'm uncertain on how I feel about the Child Trust Fund, my daughter received it and it's currently sitting in a fairly high interest account (with an approximately extra £1000) and I'm sure my daughter will be grateful of it when she is older. We're not a well off family by any means and the rest of that money consisted mainly of gifts from family and friends on her birth... regardless of the economic/practical sense in the CTF I know my ex and I certainly appreciated it.

As for diverting the funds to education... maybe foremost on the assembly's mind should be just why schools in Wales receive approx. £300 less per pupil than schools in England?
Also Anon 6:41, the Estyn school reports are available on the Estyn website - they are very detailed and even rank schools on seven key areas between 1-5 with 1 being the best.

That's pretty straightforward isn't it?
The Estyn reports are from different years; Most of the grades for the school in question was a grade 2; suggesting there's nothing wrong with the school, so why the poor A level results
...and Archbishop McGrath scored a number of Grade 3's in addition to Grade 2's in the Estyn report yet the school has had far superior A Level and GCSE results c.f. Maesteg Comprehensive school.
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