Researchers at Durham University have found that the government's flagship child policies such as Sure Start have had no discernable impact whatsoever, despite costing billions of pounds. In fairness this is an improvement on a 2005 study of Sure Start which found that it was frequently harmful to the children who participated, but provided pretend jobs to those who administered the scheme. So what is the response of Sure Start supporters to reports that it doesn't do what it is supposed to do,? Is it:
a) Accept that it is a misguided policy and that the money could be better spent elsewhere.
b) Ignore the report if possible, but if you need to respond claim that the benefits can' t be tested empirically in the short term, so we should spend even more money on it.
The answer is of course B, there is no such thing as a failed project, merely one that needs more resources. Comparable schemes elsewhere have tended to have moderate benefits for the first few years but not much in the long term, Sure Start hasn't even achieved the first stage.
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