I left Birmingham for the conference after my advice bureau (as usual). It is good that we continue to concentrate on the issue of the tax threshold for people in work, but on low incomes.
The government are in a financial mess. I have been trying to work out how they have been funding "quantative easing". Initially I thought it was funded directly, but it now looks like it is not funded. It is interesting to see to what extent this is sustainable.
It remains that a massive continuing deficit is not sustainable. My concern is to ensure that we protect services whilst going through a difficult period.
I have spoken at two fringe meetings about Social work and Child Protection. It is good that there is a dialogue between those critical of the system and those who work in it. In fact there is common ground as to what systematic problems there are. In particular the performance indicators and the integrated childrens system come in for some serious criticism.
What happens is that this results in wrong decisions being taken and then forced through the family courts.
I am also speaking at a fringe meeting about Social Inclusion. Although the tax changes help here we really need to deal with the issue of those people who are basically clients of the state.