The Economy and Work

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 4:50 pm on 26th May 2016.

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Photo of Stephen Crabb Stephen Crabb The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 4:50 pm, 26th May 2016

All the evidence shows that the top three drivers of disadvantage and poverty are worklessness, low educational attainment and family instability. The hon. Gentleman talks down the value of supporting parental stability and families, but they have an important contribution to make.

It is a sign of the underlying strength of the economy that there are more than 750,000 job vacancies across the country, but there is another story here too. For a teenager leaving care; for a father coming out of prison wanting to turn his life around; for a single mum shouldering enormous burdens, on which point my hon. Friend Lucy Allan touched insightfully; for someone overcoming an addiction to alcohol or drugs; for a young person with a mental health condition—for all of them, I want those job vacancies to represent a world of opportunities too. But for too many, taking one still feels a world away. That is why we are determined to improve the life chances of the most disadvantaged in our society. We are not just talking the language of social justice but, as the Queen’s Speech shows, taking the action needed to make a real difference to people’s lives.