Inequality and Social Mobility

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:58 pm on 12th June 2019.

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Photo of Amber Rudd Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 4:58 pm, 12th June 2019

If Members will forgive me, I shall make some progress, and then I will take some more interventions.

Let me talk for a moment about the Government’s record. Margaret Greenwood went on at some length about that, so let me make some points to her in reply. I will begin with our record on employment. We have helped more than 3.6 million people to enter work, we have reduced unemployment to its lowest level since the 1970s, we have supported nearly 1 million more disabled people into work, and women’s employment is now at record levels.

Those jobs are not just in London or the south-east; more than 60% of the employment growth since 2010 has taken place in other parts of the UK. Nor—I can already hear the suggestions coming at me from the Opposition Front Bench—are they just part-time and temporary jobs. The jobs that make up this increase are overwhelmingly full-time, permanent roles, giving people the dignity and security of a regular pay packet. Behind every employment statistic is a person or family whose mental health, wellbeing and life chances are improved by participation in the workforce. This increased employment means that 660,000 fewer children are growing up in workless households, which makes them less likely to grow up in poverty.