David Cameron has insisted the government can invest in early years projects and help put troubled families back on track, despite looming spending cuts.
In his first Conservative conference address as prime minister, Cameron pledged to “invest in the early years, help put troubled families back on track”, despite warning that most government departments faced 7% year-on-year cuts over four years.
“Fairness means giving money to help the poorest in society. People who are sick, who are vulnerable, the elderly – I want you to know we will always look after you. That’s the sign of a civilised society and it’s what I believe.
“But you can’t measure fairness just by how much money we spend on welfare, as though the poor are products with a price tag, the more we spend the more we value them.”
The prime minister also spoke at length on his plans for the Big Society, expressing enthusiasm for public service reform.
“The big, giant state monopolies – we’re breaking them open to get new ideas in. Saying to the people who work in our public services, set up as a co-operative, be your own boss, do things your way.”
Speaking to Community Care before the prime minister’s speech, Hereford MP Jesse Norman who is writing a book on the Big Society, insisted that early intervention and family support projects were likely to be prioritised by the government.
“The government in general is very pro the idea of nipping a problem in the bud before it gets too far advanced.”
But he warned against projects that went “too far” in terms of state involvement in people’s lives.
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