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

I am absolutely clear that our national health service is protected from TTIP.

One group in society who have faced particularly difficult barriers are disabled people. We are committed to our ambition to halve the disability employment gap, which we must do by learning from and listening to those who know most about what works—disabled people themselves. That is why I will be publishing a Green Paper later this year. I want to consult and engage fully with them and their representatives to build a strategy that we know will work. I hope that Members on both sides will see it as an opportunity for us all to move forward together.

The Queen’s Speech demonstrates the Government’s commitment to improving the life chances of the most disadvantaged while delivering security for people in work and strengthening our national security so that we keep our country safe. I welcome the contribution from Tom Elliott on our Bill to improve adoption. Our education for all Bill will ensure better outcomes for children, especially those in disadvantaged homes and communities. Our higher education and research Bill will allow the creation of new universities so that young people have more choices for continuing their education.

That is the kind of society I believe in, but I also believe in a society that gives people a second chance, which is why we welcome the prisons and courts reform Bill, which will put a greater focus on rehabilitation in our prisons, greater support for prisoners with mental health conditions and better education and training. At the heart of the Queen’s Speech are real reforms that provide support for the most disadvantaged at the start of life; support for people making those big leaps in life, such as leaving care; and support later in life for those looking for a second chance. None of those reforms would be possible without the foundations of a strong economy, but at no point in the last six years has Labour shown any willingness to recognise that point. We will never forget how night after night, in the last Parliament, Labour trooped into the Division Lobby to vote against every single measure we introduced to fix our national finances. It opposed all our efforts to reform welfare and restore the value of work.