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Welfare Reform and Work Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:19 pm on 20th July 2015.

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Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Conservative, Norwich North 7:19 pm, 20th July 2015

It is always a pleasure to follow Frank Field, who, despite many of his remarks being concerned with his own team, as it were, made an important point.

I wish to refer to six measures in the Bill that I welcome because they are about work. First, I welcome the proposal for an apprenticeship levy. We are setting out the right ambition to create 3 million more apprenticeships in this country, and it is right to take a look at quality as well as quantity as we do that. Although the details are yet to be fleshed out, I welcome measures to encourage higher quality apprenticeships. I look forward to discussing with businesses in my constituency—I am sure Ministers will be doing the same up and down the land—ways to achieve that goal and the goals set out by others, such as the noble Baroness Wolf of Dulwich in the other place.

Secondly, I wholeheartedly welcome the provision on full employment. The task of selecting the measure to be used will follow later, but none the less I welcome that, because it marks out the kind of ambition that we should all have and that my hon. Friend Mr Burrowes rightly mentioned.