Welfare Reform Bill

Part of Tied Public Houses (Code of Practice) – in the House of Commons at 4:12 pm on 9th March 2011.

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Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Conservative, West Worcestershire 4:12 pm, 9th March 2011

This is a profoundly important Bill. It is born out of the Secretary of State’s deep passion for helping people to get out of poverty—he has spent the last decade looking at that. There are few ways in which people who are born and grow up in poverty can find a way out. I can think of some, but winning the lottery does not happen very often and it is unlikely that someone will get a surprise inheritance from a relative whom they did not know existed. Marrying a top footballer is rare, and it would probably be quite hard work. Yvonne Fovargue spoke of work as “a” route out of poverty, but it is “the” route out. If Opposition Members have alternatives to work as a route out of poverty, I would be interested to hear of them.

The Bill removes the barriers that the welfare system puts in the way of people working their way out of poverty, which is important. We must recognise—this is why I am so disappointed that Opposition Members will not support Second Reading—that there are many barriers in the system’s construction that prevent people from getting the important message that they need to go out to find a job and to work, and that that is how they will improve their economic circumstances.