By Tim Montgomerie
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One year ago the Centre for Social Justice graded the Coalition on what it regards as the key pathways out of poverty and towards prosperous, independent living (ConHome emphasises just three – family, school and work).
The CSJ has updated the scorecard now that the Coalition is celebrating two years in office. The grades are below (with last year's ratings in brackets):
- Reforming welfare 8 out of 10 (8)
- Education 7 out of 10 (6)
- Drug addiction 7 out of 10 (7)
- Tacklling debt 6 out of 10 (6)
- Family policy 4 out of 10 (2)
- Voluntary sector 2 out of 10 (no rating last year)
The CSJ blames Coalition tensions for the lack of progress on family policy. It says there has been no progress on introducing a married tax break or eliminating the couple penalty in the benefits system. It worries that in focusing on childcare and parental leave it has the same precoccupations as Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. Despite last week's announcement on parent classes it worries that there is a big gap between the Government's words and its wallet:
"The department for education (DFE) has committed to help encourage the take-up of relationship support by providing extra funds for innovative services. overall, however, funding to prevent relationship splits remains below a scant £4 million per year, despite family breakdown carrying an annual price tag of £44 billion."
The Coalition gets the lowest rating for progress on the charitable and voluntary sector. It describes the cap on charitable giving relief as "disastrous". Again the CSJ sees a funding problem; worrying at the impact of spending cuts on the voluntary sector:
"During this past year the Government has set out a vision of social action which is at the heart of mending the UK’s broken society [yet] the charities we need to deliver this agenda have faced unprecedented funding cuts at a local level. More should have been done to protect them in the short-term whilst helping to build their independence over the long-term.The £100 million Transition Fund set up by the Cabinet office is an example of a measure which recognised the sum of the problem and yet was insufficient to meet anywhere near the scale of the need (compare this to the estimated £553 million spent on security for the olympic Games)."
The full report card is here (PDF).