Press coverage

Find coverage in the press of Reform's latest work below. 

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Treat drop in young people seeking help for homelessness with caution, urges think tank

Sofa-surfing and post-code lottery in quality of support both factors 

The decline in young people (16-24) seeking support from councils for homelessness, does not account for those who don’t go to local housing services for help.

Statistics published today (Tuesday 17.9.19) show a 29% decrease since 2012/13. 25 per cent of households looking for support were 16 – 24 years old. 

Research by the think tank has previously found that young people go to their local authority once “they have exhausted every friend,” often relying on informal support, such as sofa-surfing.

Commenting on the Office for National Statistics report on UK homelessness from 2005-2008, Imogen Farhan, co-author of Reform’s youth homelessness research, said:

“The drop in young people seeking help for homelessness should be treated with caution. Reform research found that young people in crisis tend to look for a friend with a spare sofa rather than their local council’s housing service.

“There is also a post-code lottery in the ability of local services, such as A&E departments and Jobcentre Plus, to accurately refer young people they encounter who are at risk of homelessness to local housing services.

“These cracks are too big to be papered over. Homelessness prevention need sustainable funding – not more inefficient, short-term pots of cash.”

Covered by the Independent. 

New homelessness statistics show need for long-term funding not short-term fixes, says think tank

Commenting on the Government’s statutory homelessness figures, Dr Luke Heselwood, Senior Reform Researcher, said:

“The 10 per cent increase in the number of households who are homelessness or at risk of homelessness is damning. Although the number of people who have secure accommodation has also risen, it does not meet demand. Too many people are stranded in temporary accommodation, which is insecure and costly to the taxpayer.

“Short-term thinking and funding has blighted homelessness services. While the £54 million increase in funding announced in the Government’s spending round last week is welcome, it will only be a short-term fix to firefight an issue which requires long-term solutions.

“Longer-term funding for councils is needed, which will allow them to offer people support and advice long before they are at risk of homelessness.”

Covered by the Independent, The MJ, The Big Issue and LocalGov.

Number of universities on ‘enhanced monitoring’ for improving access for disadvantaged students “deeply concerning”, says Reform think tank

Commenting on the Office for Students announcement that 31 of 41 top Universities have been put on “enhanced monitoring” following the publication of their access plans, Dr Luke Heselwood, Reform education lead, said:

“It is deeply concerning that three quarters of top Universities have been put on ‘special measures’ due to the commitments outlined in their plans to improve access and support for disadvantaged students.

“The OfS is right to require that elite universities produce and publish access plans, but these figures show a disconnect between ambition and reality.

“Universities cannot argue that this is a money issue. Reform research found that access spending reached £745 million in 2016-17. It is essential that this money is well spent.

“The OfS’ new Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes must also focus on how to achieve value for money, which will require detailed breakdown of how widening participation budgets are spent. Otherwise disadvantaged students and the taxpayer will continue to lose out.”

Covered by the Telegraph and the Independent

Untargeted spend risks widening attainment gap between rich and poor schools, says think tank

Commenting on education spending pledges in the 2019 spending round, Reform Education lead, Dr Luke Heselwood, said:

“The levelling-up of spend across schools will raise per pupil funding and school spend. But because the money is not targeted, more affluent areas are set to benefit most. This will deepen the already stark attainment gap across the country.

“The salary rise for newly qualified teachers is significant and welcome. However, 20 per cent of current teachers earn less than £30,000, 10 per cent earn just over. Both groups will want a pay rise and the Department for Education needs to think about this. 

“The £400 million promised for further education is a good start, but a longer-term funding commitment is needed to bring parity between technical and academic education.”

£1.5 billion for social care isn’t even a short-term fix, says think tank

Commenting on the Government’s Social Care funding announced in the 2019 Spending Round, Reform think tank Health policy lead, Claudia Martinez, said:

“Sadly, the £1.5bn funding injection announced today is not even a ‘sticking plaster’ given the scale of the funding gap.

“Boris Johnson pledged to solve the social care crisis “once and for all” yet the spending round has shown that the Government is stuck on a ‘hamster wheel’ of short-termism.

“The long-term fix is an insurance system in which working-age people contribute part of their salary to a later-life care fund. In the short-term, people should release the equity in their property to pay for their care needs and the Government should reduce overly generous pensioner benefits.”

Spending Round an electioneering fudge, says think tank

Commenting on the 2019 Spending Round, Charlotte Pickles, Director of the Reform think tank, said:

“Today’s spending review is an electioneering fudge. The Chancellor committed to ‘keep control’ of public finances while splurging cash and pledging to rewrite the fiscal rules.

“While additional investment in public services is needed, without any analysis by the government’s fiscal watchdog, the Chancellor has no idea whether the £13.8 billion spending increase is sustainable. And the uncertainty around Brexit only heightens this risk.

“Sajid Javid was right to talk about public services as lifelines of opportunity. Increased investment in left-behind communities, FE, bus services and tackling homelessness is overdue. But the huge and unevidenced injections of cash for criminal justice, education and NHS services appear to be more about winning votes rather than transforming lives.”

PUBLIC SECTOR FOCUS, 30 August 2019

Imogen Farhan, researcher at Reform, wrote an article for the July/August edition of Public Sector Focus, on why the NHS needs to go back to basics in order to realise the 'digital revolution' in mental health.

You can read the piece here.

Projected prison population plunge no justification for unevidenced ‘tough on crime’ policy, says think tank

Commenting on The Ministry of Justice’s prison population projections, Charlotte Pickles, Director of the Reform think tank, said:

“These lower projections do not ‘green light’ the Government’s criminal justice reforms.

“62 per cent of prisons are currently overcrowded, and we have the highest prison population in Western Europe. 

“The Ministry of Justice is also clear that these predictions are likely to change when the Prime Minister’s plans for tougher sentences come into effect. 

“It is vital that the right people are being sent to prison, but a return to the days of ‘prison works’ will not cut crime, reduce reoffending or keep the public safe.”

Covered in The Guardian and other various outlets.

PUBLIC FINANCE, 22 AUGUST 2019

Reform think tank Director, Charlotte Pickles, spoke to Public Finance in a Q&A about Prime Minister Boris Johnson's criminal justice reform, the one-year 'spending review' and plans for our future. 

Read it here