Social Mobility and Child Poverty

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 25th January 2016.

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Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 2:30 pm, 25th January 2016

What steps she is taking to implement the recommendations of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s report, “State of the Nation 2015: Social Mobility and Child Poverty in Great Britain”, published in December 2015.

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Prime Minister made it clear in his first major policy intervention this year that improving life chances is a key priority for this Government. We will, in due course, publish a strategy setting out all the ways in which we will be fighting disadvantage and spreading opportunity. The strategy will focus on the root causes and human dimensions of child poverty. We will work with the reformed Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, which will play an important role in this.

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

I am sure that the strategy that the Minister mentions will recognise that early intervention is key to improving social mobility. Has he looked at the impact of the removal of the ring-fencing of the early intervention grant, which has led to a 40% drop in the money available for early intervention? What will the impact of that be on social mobility?

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The right hon. Gentleman will know that Conservative Members take social mobility very seriously, and we have an excellent record on it; we even allowed the Liberal Democrats into government once. On the early intervention grant, we have increased the amount of money for troubled families and are deploying it in a very targeted way to help the families who need it most.