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Child Poverty Bill

Part of Bill Presented — Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:05 pm on 20th July 2009.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Shadow Minister (Women), Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 5:05 pm, 20th July 2009

I did not say that at all, and I suggest that the hon. Lady listens more closely.

As the Institute for Fiscal Studies has stated, the extension of means-testing has weakened incentives for many people to stay in work and increase their earnings. It rightly warns that the strategy that the Government have clung to for so long might have the effect of increasing poverty by weakening incentives for parents to work. Without a clear recognition of the importance of local enterprise and regeneration, the Bill contains little to tackle the problem of welfare dependency. It is vital that the Secretary of State does not backtrack on the essential programme of welfare reform, which her predecessor began, following our proposals. Instead, I would prefer to see her go further, as we originally proposed and still advocate.

Part of tackling worklessness is making work pay and making work possible, which involves setting an environment in which good-quality part-time or flexible jobs can be provided for parents, along with high-quality and affordable child care options. I am disappointed that the Bill does not reflect those issues, and I urge the Government to recognise how vital such interrelated aspects of family life are.

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