Austerity, rationing and inequity: trends in children’s and young peoples’ services expenditure in England between 2010 and 2015

Calum Webb, Paul Bywaters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


This article investigates local authority (LA) trends in expenditure on Children’s and Young Peoples’ services in England between 2010 and 2015, a period of government characterised by measures of fiscal austerity. We draw on a rationing framework to contextualise the levels and trends in expenditure
under observation. The article analyses trends in various groupings of expenditure, using a latent growth modelling approach to identify significant trajectories in spending across LAs with different deprivation tertile membership. We find that although some kinds of children’s and young peoples’ services expenditure have been largely maintained during this period, preventive family support and early intervention services (such as Sure Start Children’s centres) have seen substantial reductions in expenditure, in contrast to the
dominant narrative that children’s services have been protected. LAs in the most deprived tertile have faced the greatest cuts, mirroring other research
findings on the distribution of austerity measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-415
Number of pages25
JournalLocal Government Studies
Issue number3
Early online date6 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2018


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