New Clause 2 — Childcare

Part of Welfare Reform Bill (Programme) (No. 2) – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 13th June 2011.

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Photo of Sheila Gilmore Sheila Gilmore Labour, Edinburgh East 6:15 pm, 13th June 2011

I hope that those figures for Scotland are not like the figures for the whole United Kingdom, which, according to the Sunday newspaper that I read this week, included students. That was in the small print, but the fact remains that the wrong figure is constantly given.

I am not defending circumstances in which people are unable to work. However, we should examine the whole notion of the mini-job much more carefully than we have been able to do so far. We need to be clear about exactly what it will deliver. We already know that many people who have been able to start work over the past 10 or 15 years as a result of measures introduced by the previous Government, including families with children, are still living in poverty.

The mini-jobs, or micro-jobs, that we are discussing may indeed enable people to work, and being able to work for six, eight or 10 hours may be seen as some great moral advantage. I fear, however, that the jobs will be of such poor quality and so poorly paid that those people will remain in poverty, and the path out of that poverty does not appear to be very well mapped. I think that we should have given the proposal much more consideration before using it as a reason to remove child care provision from other people.