Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 3:28 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington Conservative, Watford 3:28 pm, 1st April 2014

If the hon. Gentleman will bear with me, I will make a bit of progress first.

The system means that people are effectively signing an employment contract when they sign on—I have seen such contracts, and the purpose is to get people looking for work. It is a programme of looking for work and taking up initiatives that have been derided by the Opposition, such as the work experience programme, the Work programme and other things. But I have seen the system work. It provides a lot of jobs in my constituency. However, the principle of what the hon. Gentleman says, which is that people should not be allowed to rot and do nothing while on jobseeker’s allowance, is right.

Bridget Phillipson made a good point that was pertinent to her constituency, and she has met people who have applied for hundreds of jobs and been unsuccessful. I accept that and have heard of similar cases. I cannot compare my constituency with that of my hon. Friend Mark Field, or with Kensington and Chelsea, but in Watford—as the shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who is not here, would know as he is a frequent visitor, for which I am grateful—jobs are available. I am not saying there are jobs everywhere, and it is difficult for anyone to get a job, but I accept that in the hon. Lady’s constituency things are completely different.