New Clause 2 — Childcare

Part of Welfare Reform Bill (Programme) (No. 2) – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 13th June 2011.

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Photo of Paul Uppal Paul Uppal Conservative, Wolverhampton South West 7:30 pm, 13th June 2011

I accept the hon. Lady’s point, but I go back to the corrosive effect that that is having on society. There are people living cheek by jowl with the 20,000 families that she has mentioned, who are aware of the situation.

A constituent spoke to me who comes from one of the handful of families on her road who actually work. The rest of the families on her street have made a conscious life choice to live off benefits. [ Interruption. ] Ms Buck may nod, sigh and take a deep breath, but I am faced in my weekly surgeries by people who live in the real world—people who have to deal with the hard reality of life. My constituent had to face ridicule for going to work. That is the situation that we have.

As I have said before in this House, I have experienced poverty in my life. I have not read about it in a book or dealt with it at arm’s length from behind a desk; I have seen it with my own eyes and experienced it in my family. That is why I am passionate about it and why I was proud to sit on the Committee. Too often, the issues that we talk about are detached from the reality of life. This legislation is not about appealing to red-top newspapers or making grand-standing statements, as was said in Committee, but about tackling the issue head-on. Hon. Members have talked about the number of jobs created over the past decade that were taken by foreigners who came to these shores with an ethos of working. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberconwy mentioned eastern Europeans. My family have gone through that experience. We came to this country with an ethos of working; that was our aspiration. The idea that we could claim benefits and use the system to support us was anathema to us. That idea is what this Bill tackles.