Department for Work and Pensions

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 2nd July 2019.

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Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 4:15 pm, 2nd July 2019

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member for Oldham East and Saddleworth has already had an opportunity to contribute to the debate. She has intervened numerous times and, as I said at the beginning of my speech, far from being frit I will address a number of the key points raised during this debate.

We are creating a welfare system in which it pays to work, with universal credit simplifying the complex legacy benefit system that thwarted opportunities to work through punitive tax rates and a cliff edge for those wanting to do more work and that mired people in debt. We are establishing jobcentres that help people into work, not just to sign on—jobcentres where one-to-one personalised support is provided to a claimant from their work coach, offering advice and access to services to help the vulnerable, and where staff create links with businesses to make it their personal mission to help people not into just a job, but into the right job.

This is not to speak of the huge wider support that this Government offer. Our welfare reforms are assisting the incredible employment statistics we see month on month. The recent labour market figures show the importance of helping people into work, and this Government have created more than 3.6 million more jobs since 2010, helping people out of poverty and creating aspiration and a huge sense of purpose for millions. The employment rate is at a record high, while the unemployment rate has halved since 2010 and has not been lower since the 1970s. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bexhill and Battle rightly said, no Labour Government have ever left office with unemployment lower than when they started, meaning that more people were denied the security of a regular wage. From May to July 1997 to March to May 2010, the unemployment level increased from 2.1 million to 2.5 million. There are now almost 1 million fewer workless households, giving more than 600,000 more children a role model in their home who is in work. The number of children living in workless households increased under Labour, meaning that fewer children were living in a financially stable household with a working role model.