Thursday, 8 August 2013

Planning for increased young population needed

No doubt the redtops will seize on the immigration element in the ONS's annual population assessment just released (pdf here). The FT however picks out the "baby boom" element. The increase in the number of live births in a time of economic depression was predictable (indeed I predicted it in 2008, but was a couple of years out in my guess!). Not only are there fewer jobs for women, causing them not to put off that biological question any longer, but there is apparently across all societies a drive to produce children when times are tough.

There is a need for government to plan to take account of this. It no doubt contributes to the strain placed on the NHS in Wales, whose budget Labour has consistently cut. The maternity services strategy document (pdf here) issued in 2011, when the population trend was already noticeable, does not go much beyond platitudes. There is still time, however, for the government and especially councils to shift resources into early years education in their 2014/15/16 budgets.

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