Jobs and Social Security

Part of Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 4:19 pm on 28th November 2012.

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Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 4:19 pm, 28th November 2012

The hon. Gentleman is right. That is just one more element of the wider picture that we are presenting this afternoon. At a time when there is a huge combined impact on communities throughout the country, we do not have a plan to get Britain back to work. What we have is a welfare bill that is rising, and when it comes to paying that down, it is Britain’s working people—those in receipt of tax credits—who are bearing the brunt. The Government are taking £14 billion out of tax credits over the course of the present Parliament.

We are arguing for a different approach, and we hope that we will see it next week. We believe that that different approach starts with getting our young people back into work. They currently constitute some 40% of those who are out of work. That is one of the highest levels in any western country, and it is a badge of shame. Now, all over the country Labour councils are leading the charge to get young people back into jobs. In Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Wales, Cardiff, Glasgow and Birmingham, it is now Labour councils that are rolling up their sleeves and leading the drive to get young people into jobs. We should help them, so let us put in place a bank bonus tax to create a fund that would help us get young people back into work.

This Saturday is the 70th anniversary of the Beveridge report. That report offered the blueprint for post-war social security. The truth is that 70 years later, working people in this country need new things from the welfare state. They need retraining when they lose their job. They need child care. They need better social care. They need help when they are disabled. Millions today pay in and get nothing back. They are short-changed Britain, when what we want is something-for-something Britain.

Those of us who want to modernise the system know we need to remember the most important lesson Beveridge taught us: social security is built on full employment. So let us get on with getting Britain back to work, and we should start with the young people, whom we will ask to pay for all of our futures—our young people who are hungry for work, yet are being let down by this shambolic Government.

I commend the motion to the House.