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Welfare Reform and Work Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:43 pm on 20th July 2015.

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Photo of Michael Tomlinson Michael Tomlinson Conservative, Mid Dorset and North Poole 7:43 pm, 20th July 2015

There are many measures in this Bill, but I shall discuss just one or two aspects of it.

I am the vice-chairman of the all-party group on youth employment and I am delighted that under the chairmanship of Chloe Smith its name has been changed from “youth unemployment” to “youth employment”, showing a more positive outlook. Likewise, this Bill is called the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, which also shows a welcome direction of travel.

Clause 1 has the welcome ambition of reaching full employment and a reporting obligation to ensure that we here in Parliament are regularly updated on progress. Over the past two and a half years I have had the pleasure to run a jobs club in my constituency, from the Pilot pub in Canford Heath, and I pay tribute to its landlady, Lisa Ballet, for being so community spirited and permitting that jobs club to exist.

The claimant count in Mid Dorset and North Poole is down to 312. Of course I do not claim credit for that entirely, but I do welcome the ambition to lower the claimant count in my constituency. Although I would ordinarily guard against targets and a target culture, if this is simply an ambition, then I welcome it, and I look forward to the numbers in work in my constituency increasing over the coming Parliament.