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Early Intervention Policies

Volume 505: debated on Tuesday 2 February 2010

13. What assessment he has made of the effects on the economy of implementation of policies for early intervention; and if he will make a statement. (314440)

The Government fully recognise the benefits of early intervention and the value for money that it brings. That is why I announced in the Command Paper that I laid before the House before Christmas a new programme of work designed to test innovative forms of finance aimed at boosting investment in early intervention.

We all seem to be agreed that we need to reduce the deficit by half over four years, but there are two ways to do that—either by reducing public expenditure, or by reducing the need for that public expenditure by intervening early in the problems that much public expenditure is spent on, so that that expenditure is not necessary. Will my right hon. Friend and the Treasury exercise due diligence in looking at the financial instruments that are being developed on the capital markets, which could raise money in the first instance to make sure that early intervention programmes can be sustained?

I would like to put on record my personal thanks to my hon. Friend for the pioneering work that he has overseen in Nottingham, where there is a great deal for policy makers and for politicians to learn. Like him, I am keen that we explore new ways of drawing money into innovative projects focused on early intervention, and I hope the measures that we have announced to create in this country a social investment wholesale bank, together with social impact bonds that will be brought forward by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and, I hope, the Secretary of State for Justice will be a substantial step in testing some of the ideas that are being pioneered now in Nottingham.