Director of European Programs
A budget for social infrastructure
Nineteen signatories — including Sarah McKinley of The Democracy Collaborative — call for spending rules to be shaken up to benefit care services and marginalized groups.
We welcome the government’s commitment to level up disadvantaged areas of the UK in this week’s budget. We also welcome suggestions that the chancellor is considering including spending on social infrastructure such as health, education or care as a form of infrastructure investment.
Most of the time when we think of infrastructure we think of physical infrastructure like roads, railways and hospital buildings, but a broader definition of it would include social infrastructure like NHS salaries, training, personal assistants for those with disabilities and childcare workers. The government has promised to spend in these areas, but is restricted by its own rules about what it can and can’t borrow money for. It can borrow to invest but not to “just spend”.
As with physical infrastructure, spending on health, care and education have benefits for wider society that continue into the future. Such spending should therefore be seen as a form of infrastructure investment. Changing the rules to reflect the multiplying effect of investment in the NHS, schools, policing and care would enable the chancellor to truly boost productivity and wellbeing.