England is unusual in relying so heavily on central government to finance its social services. Citizens expect to be able to access services of similar standards wherever they live. This raises difficult theoretical and practical issues. How are the needs of different areas to be measured? How are the different costs of providing services in very different parts of the country to be assessed? This book reviews the economic theory that underpins thinking about the problem. It then traces the way governments have distributed resources from the end of the last century until today. It critically analyses current methods for three services - the National Health Service, schools, and housing.
Part I: Introducing and Analysing Formula Funding; Introduction; Political principals and economic theories; Needs-based funding from the nineteenth century to the 1980s; Funding in the NHS: Life after RAWP; Part II: Formula Funding in the 1990s; The Development of education needs formulae; Allocating social housing subsidies; Three services, eight formulae: Common themes and differences; Part III: The View from the Ground; Shared values: Views from within the NHS; Central and local views of the education funding system; Struggling to identify objectives: Local authority housing; A runaway train? Housing associations; Part IV: The Overall Pattern; Common Patterns; Here to now