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Welfare Reform and Work Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:34 pm on 20th July 2015.

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Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 5:34 pm, 20th July 2015

We released them earlier and they have been available since before the debate began, so I will simply move on.

I would like to turn to how we tackle the root causes of poverty. I believe that the past approach focused on dealing with the symptoms of poverty while completely failing to target the root causes. The Bill will provide a statutory basis for much-needed reform to improve children’s life chances. I have long argued that there are five key pathways to poverty that affect children’s life chances: worklessness, educational attainment, drug and alcohol addiction, family breakdown and problem debt. The Bill will remove the existing measures and targets in the Child Poverty Act 2010 and introduce a new duty to report on worklessness and educational attainment. Alongside the statutory measures, we will develop indicators to measure progress against either of those root causes of poverty.

Our new approach will drive real action, which will make the biggest difference to the most disadvantaged children now and in future. The key point is that this will enable us to measure what Government policy actually does, rather than just how much money we put into it. It is worth reminding the House that we will continue to publish the HBAI—households below average income—statistics so that those who wish to look at them can still do so.