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Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:18 am on 17th October 2019.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 11:18 am, 17th October 2019

All of us are there in our constituency surgeries to be the advocate and champion of our constituents, and I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on doing so, because that is the ancient role of MPs: to seek redress of grievance. I appreciate that in difficult individual cases the generality of statistics is not the greatest comfort to the individual who is suffering, but the overall picture is one of considerable improvement: 400,000 fewer people are now in absolute poverty than were in 2010, and—this is crucial—730,000 fewer children are living in workless households. Work is the route out of poverty. The reduction in withdrawal rates from the switch to universal credit, bringing it down to 62p in the pound from the 90p-plus rate, has been fundamental in helping to reduce poverty, and the number of people in employment is at a record high. I absolutely accept that that is not much comfort to an individual who is in difficult circumstances, but the generality for the country is considerably improved.