Child Poverty Bill
Richard Kemp: When I spoke at the House of Lords Select Committee this afternoon, I invited their lordships to join me on 16 November, and I will invite you to join me as well. At the Local Government Association, we are taking up that challenge, but in a wider sense. If we are going to deal with the multiple problems to society, particularly at a time when public sector finances are going to be severely constrained, we need to create a new set of relationships between the public, private and voluntary sectors. We are defining that partly as kit, cash and culture. Although I know that it would not apply in this particular field, we should ask what equipment we can use to help with things, for example that would affect adult social care. How will we introduce new cash into the system? We all look down on each other and tie ourselves into contracts that keep us at the lowest possible level, rather than capturing the innovation and energy that those three sectors can bring, so how will we work together better?
I am not saying that we are starting off from a bad base, because the national compacts, the community empowerment networks and the local compacts are beginning to move us forward, but what we are looking at is a step change. That is where I come back to benefits, because I do not think that there is a separate argument. People in our communities know that there are jobs to be done. They know that the people currently doing nothing could do them, and they would use benefit money effectively to link the two, because they are meaner with money than people like us. They watch every last farthing and would ensure that benefits were applied to people in their community doing real work, which we know is needed in every community. I just think that there are major ways forward.